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Here we go with what should be another awesome episode of Lucha Underground. I think I was closer to the railing on the balcony for this one so maybe you can see me. Let’s find out! We start off with some clips from Ultima Lucha, including Mil Muertes beating Prince Puma for the Lucha Underground Championship and Black Lotus killing El Dragon Azteca after Dario Cueto told her Azteca murdered her parents. Yeah, that was pretty nuts.
We’re now in the present in the Temple and Prince Puma is working out. Pentagon Jr. comes in and thanks Puma for giving him the opportunity to break the arm of Mil Muertes last week and pleasing his Master. Pentagon says that tonight they will be partners against the Disciples of Death but the next sacrifice to his Master will be Puma. Pentagon says he has zero fear and Puma strikes out at Pentagon. They fight a bit. Puma hits a crazy flip kick on Pentagon and growls in his face. We then cut to the live action in the Temple.
Johnny Mundo vs. Killshot
They edited the crowd chants for Mundo. I think they changed it to “Johnny Zero.” What everyone was chanting was “Johnny Punto.” Punto is spanish slang for pussy, if I remember correctly. It could have also been “puto” which can be a derogatory term for homosexual. So yeah, not really appropriate and I don’t blame them for editing it out. Killshot starts things off with a snapmare but Mundo recovers quickly. Killshot hits a big kick and dodges one from Mundo. Killshot follows up with an enziguri, knocking Mundo to the floor. Killshot then hits a crazy diving moonsault over the ropes and onto Mundo. Mundo responds with a huge spear, stopping Killshot in his tracks. Mundo tosses him in the ring and gets a two count off a pin attempt. Killshot follows up with a rolling cutter but Mundo gets into the ropes. Killshot then goes for a powerbomb but Mundo slips out of it and hits the C4 on Killshot to get a nearfall.
Mundo wastes some time taunting the crowd and getting ready to go for The End of the World. Killshot rolls out of the way before Mundo can even get up on the turnbuckle. Mundo hits a tackle in the corner but Killshot responds by whipping Mundo into the opposite corner. He goes for a corner attack but Mundo is able to counter with a kick. Killshot recovers and hits a dropkick on Mundo in the corner. He then goes up top and hits a shooting star press but Mundo kicks out at the last possible second. Killshot is really establishing himself with this match, win or lose. Killshot goes for a slam but Mundo blocks it and hits Killshot with a knee. Killshot responds with a huge knee of his own and irish whips Mundo. Mundo takes out the ref, Rick Knox. While Knox is recovering in the corner, Mundo counters a Killshot leapfrog with a big kick to the groin and follows it up with a slingshot kick off the ropes. He is then able to hit The End of the World on Killshot and get the three count for the pin.
Johnny gets on the mic after his victory and taunts Mil Muertes. Cage appears on the balcony and says it is good to be back in the Temple. He is 100% healthy, unlike Muertes. He says when Muertes is healed up, he won’t just break Muertes’ arm, he’ll break his entire body. Mundo interrupts Cage, saying Cage isn’t even his league. Cage reminds Mundo that the last time they met, Cage whupped his ass and if Mundo wants to go, they can go right now. Cage gets in the ring and stares down Mundo. Mundo gets out of there in a hurry. Cage turns around and stares down Muertes, who is up on his throne. Mundo then attacks Cage from behind but Cage responds with a huge clothesline and goes for a press slam on Cage but Mundo slips out of it and gets out of there.
When we come back from commercial we get a vignette where Marty the Moth is still holding Sexy Star captive. He says he has brought her something and opens his hands to reveal a butterfly. Sexy turns away in fear. Marty says there is no reason to be afraid, that all this is for her own good. He tells Sexy that his sister says it is almost time for Sexy to fly back to the temple. She won’t be alone, they are coming with her. That was pretty creepy.
We then get a promo featuring the Darewolf, PJ Black. PJ, formerly known as Justin Gabriel in WWE, is shown riding the roads on a motorcycle and then fights some other motorcycle guys. His voiceover says he doesn’t seek money or recognition. He is just looking for his next thrill and he has heard that Lucha Underground is the place to get it. He takes out both of the motorcycle guys and lets out a roar. Pretty badass.
The Mack vs. PJ Black
I don’t think I made it to the edge of the railing yet where the wrestlers walk down the steps and it’s so dark you can’t see the rest of the balcony. You can kind of see me give PJ Black a high five though. I am a huge PJ Black fan, having followed him since his debut on the original NXT and then as part of the Nexus. Benson and I got to see him in some of his first indie matches in EVOLVE during WrestleMania weekend last year and he was awesome. He is a perfect addition to the Lucha Underground roster. Willie Mack is also a big fave of mine as he has been a huge part of the SoCal indie scene for as long as I have been going to shows. I first saw him in Mach 1 in Anaheim where he was champion and have seen him several times since then. He is crazy agile for a big guy and has tons of charisma.
Black gets Mack in a side headlock to start things off. They go into the ropes and Willie hits a hiptoss but Black lands on his feet and hits a kick on Mack. He then gets Mack back in a side headlock. Willie powers out and tosses PJ into the ropes but PJ responds with a big tackle. He hits a nice armdrag on Mack. Mack responds with an armdrag of his own and hits a kick on Black. They both exchange chops. Mack whips PJ in the ropes and they exchange counters but Mack then nails PJ with an enziguri. Mack whips PJ into the corner hard and goes for a corner attack but PJ counters with a double kick out of the corner. PJ goes in to attack a dazed Mack but Mack surprises PJ with a Samoan Drop. He follows this up with a standing moonsault and gets a near fall.
The two exchange punches after getting back on their feet and then some chops. PJ hits a kick and Mack responds in kind. PJ then hits an uppercut and a forearm. He tries for another forearm but Mack grabs him and goes for a German suplex but PJ has it scouted and lands on his feet. PJ tosses Mack in the ropes and then hits a big Blue Thunder Bomb but Mack manages to kick out. PJ follows this up with a springboard moonsault and he gets another near fall. PJ goes up to the top to go for his 450 but Mack rolls out of range. PJ hits a flying forearm into the corner and then goes for a springboard attack but Mack counters this with a stunner and gets a three count. Great finish and a great match. Fantastic debut for PJ Black.
When we come back from the break we get a vignette featuring the newest female on the Lucha Underground roster, Kobra Moon. The excellent luchadora also known as Thunder Rosa on the indies will debut next week! She is pretty awesome!
Prince Puma and Pentagon Jr. vs. The Disciples of Death
This is a 3 on 2 handicap match as the Trios champions take on the two biggest stars in Lucha Underground. I cannot understate how over Pentagon is with the Lucha Underground crowd. He also got one of the biggest pops at PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. He is quickly becoming a huge star in the States. The Disciples of Death jump Pentagon and Puma before the bell rings. Puma cleans house and Pentagon then hits a diving attack to the outside on all three Disciples. Puma then hits a crazy shooting star off the top rope to the outside. He and Pentagon argue a bit and the Disciples take advantage, double teaming Puma in the ring. I am not sure which Disciple is which so I will do my best here. Disciple goes after Puma’s mask and tosses him into their corner. The Disciples triple team Puma. El Siniestro Del Muerte goes for a pin on Puma but Pentagon breaks it up. The Disciples respond by triple teaming Pentagon.
SDM hits a suplex on Puma and he and another Disciple hit a double team on Puma. Pentagon comes in and clears the ring. He then hits big slaps on all three Disciples. Puma hits a flying dropkick off the top rope on Trece and he and Pentagon face off again. Trece hits a hanging DDT off the rope on Puma. SDM hits a catapult dropkick on Pentagon, knocking Pentagon to the floor and Barrio Negro then hits a flying attack onto Pentagon. Back in the ring, Puma hits a big piledriver on Trece and then goes up for the 630 splash. Pentagon tags himself in as Puma launches into the air and Pentagon pins Trece after Puma hits the 630.
After the match, the gloves are off between Puma and Pentagon and they go at it. Pentagon hits the Lung Blower on Puma and then goes for the armbreaker.Puma manages to fight out of it. He goes for an enziguri but Pentagon slips out of the ring.
The closing vignette is a big one as we hear an off camera Rey Mysterio talking to the mysterious hooded figure we saw in the final moments of Ultima Lucha. He lowers his hood to reveal that he is Dragon Azteca Jr and that he has inherited the mask of his father. Rey then reveals himself to the camera as we end the show. Awesome!
This should be an exciting episode of NXT as Finn Balor will face Apollo Crews in a non-title match. We start things off with the return of The Vaudevillains. We haven’t seen these guys in a bit so let’s see what they have to bring to Full Sail.
The Vaudevillains vs. The Hype Bros
I am not sure what Mojo has to do at this point to get over but I personally think this is a good step for him. He seems to have improved in the ring since teaming up with Ryder. English starts off against Mojo and Mojo quickly gains control with a splash. He gets the crowd hyped and tags in Ryder. Ryder counters a backdrop attempt by English and hits a dropkick. He goes for a scoop slam and Gotch interferes, distracting Ryder long enough for English to take control. He hits a kick in the corner and then a splash. The Vaudevillains are definitely showing a more aggressive side as English tags in Gotch and they hit a series of double team strikes on Ryder. Gotch goes for a pin but Ryder’s foot is in the ropes. He nails Ryder with a strike and goes for another pin attempt, barely getting a two count.
We get some quick tags between Gotch and English as they maintain control. They go for a double backdrop and Ryder is able to counter taking down English with an enziguri and kicking Gotch in the gut. This creates some space and Ryder is able to make the hot tag to Mojo, who quickly takes down Gotch with a face slam. He then hits a splash in the corner. Mojo goes for another one but he misses. Ryder is able to tag in. English attempts to interfere but Ryder nails him with a forearm. He then hits a dropkick on Gotch and goes for a Broski Boot but English pulls Gotch out of the way. Gotch tags in English and hits an uppercut on Ryder followed by English hitting the Whirling Dervish and getting the pinfall. The Vaudevillains definitely looked strong here, showing a more aggressive heelish side that we haven’t seen from them in quite some time. We’ll see where this goes.
We are shown some highlights from the Women’s #1 Contender Battle Royale 3 weeks ago featuring Asuka being eliminated by Eva Marie and Carmella eliminating Eva to win the match and becoming the #1 contender. Tom Phillips interviews Carmella about her win. She talks about how wrestling is in her blood. Her dad was a wrestler in the 90’s. He was even a jobber in the WWE. Tom asks if her friendship with Bayley is going to be affected by the championship match and Carmella says nothing will change that friendship. They both understand what is important and why they are here. Tonight Carmella will take on Emma. She says tonight she will prove why she deserves to be the #1 contender and why she will be the next NXT Women’s champion. This was a good spotlight on Carmella.
When we come back from break, Dash and Dawson are interviewed backstage. They talk about how they beat Enzo and Cass in London. Enzo and Cass can talk all they want but they’ll never beat them. They’ve beat every tag team in NXT, including the Ascension, and are on their way to becoming the greatest NXT tag team of all time. They’re happy to give Enzo and Cass another shot at the title but it will have the same result as always. Pretty good stuff here from the champs.
Carmella vs. Emma
Emma is accompanied to the ring by Dana Brooke. Emma talks some trash before the bell. They go back and forth a bit after locking up but Emma gets a little cocky and Carmella slams her face first into the mat when Emma has her back turned. Emma is able to counter a corner attack by Carmella and takes control. She gets Carmella in a stretch hold and Dana cheers her on. She turns the stretch into a pin attempt and gets a two count. Carmella counters an Emma choke attempt with a monkey flip and then slams Emma into the turnbuckle. She hits a headscissors off the second rope and then connects with the Bronco Buster in the corner. Carmella goes for her submission but Emma is able to counter by grabbing Carmella’s hair and slamming her to the mat. She then hits a series of shoulder tackles on Carmella into the corner. Emma tries to follow up with a double underhook suplex but Carmella counters with a backslide and gets the three count. This was a pretty good match and helps build Carmella’s momentum going into her big championship match with Bayley next week.
We are shown clips of the controversial #1 contender’s triple threat match from last week where Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe both had Baron Corbin in a submission hold when Baron tapped. Regal is supposed to make a decision regarding who will be #1 contender tonight. Both Joe and Sami are asked about the finish. Sami believes he is the winner but it is up to Regal. Joe threatens the cameraman and walks off.
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy vs. ???
Before the match Enzo and Cass give a good promo to hype up the crowd. They never said the names of the guys Enzo and Cass destroyed. This was your pretty standard squash match. Cass tossed Enzo onto one of the jobbers to get the win. These guys are definitely at their best when they are chasing the titles but it seems like it might be time for them to either finally win the belts or move on to bigger things on the Main Roster.
Apollo Crews gives a promo backstage saying tonight is his night to prove himself. It is his night to prove that he has what it takes to become NXT Champion. We are then told we will hear from William Regal and his decision regarding last week’s triple threat match next. When we come back Regal says there will be a rematch. Corbin interrupts and says there better be a rematch. Regal says the one thing that was 100% certain is that Corbin lost, so he won’t be in the rematch. Corbin says Regal is a joke and leaves in a huff. Regal tells us there will be a rematch between Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn to determine the #1 contender. I’m down with that.
Asuka vs. Santana Garrett
Nice to see Santana in an NXT ring. She is a veteran on the indies and also has appeared in TNA and Global Force Wrestling. Santana hits Asuka with a series of forearms out of the lockup but Asuka just seems to enjoy them. She hits Santana with a hip attack followed by a series of kicks. Santana dodges a big roundhouse from Asuka but Asuka follows up with a huge overhand punch. Asuka then goes for a running kick to the head on a prone Santana but Santana counters with a rollup and gets a two count. Santana takes control and hits a big side Russian legsweep, getting another near fall. She then gets Asuka in an arm lock submission. Asuka counters by going for a leglock but Santana manages to get out of it. Santana hits the ropes and Asuka catches her in an armbar. Santana attempts to power out but Asuka turns it into the Asuka Lock and gets the submission victory. This was a really great showing by both Garrett and Asuka. Garrett got quite a bit of offense in but Asuka was just too much for her and continues to look unstoppable.
Finn Balor is interviewed backstage. He discusses last week’s triple threat match. He says Regal made the right decision by letting Joe and Sami have a rematch and settle things in the ring. He says that what should have happened in his previous match with Crews will happen tonight because he is the best. Good interview here by Balor and he does a good job showing the confidence of a champion.
Apollo Crews vs. Finn Balor (Non-Title Match)
I am a huge fan of both of these guys so I am definitely hyped for this. The two shake hands to start things off. We get some good chain wrestling as Balor maintains control with a series of takedowns. Balor keeps Apollo on the ground with a headlock. Apollo manages to turn it over into a pin multiple times but the best he can get is a two count. Apollo finally gets Balor into the corner and Balor has to break the hold. Apollo gets Balor in a headlock of his own but Balor reverses it and gets Apollo back on the mat. Apollo powers out and whips Balor into the ropes. Apollo follows this up with big dropkick, sending Balor out of the ring. Balor is on the ramp as we go to break.
When we come back Apollo has Balor in a headlock in the ring, firmly in control. Balor powers out and irish whips Apollo. Apollo counters with a sunset flip but Balor counters with a dropkick and goes for the cover. He gets a one count and quickly follows up with an armbar on Crews. Crews powers Balor into the corner and gets a break. Balor hits some quick strikes and a big kick. He goes for a pin and gets a two count. He stays right on Crews, hitting some chops in the corner. He then hits a snapmare and goes for another pin, getting another two count. Balor again stays right on Crews, getting him back in armbar.Crews finally powers out and whips Balor into the corner. Balor hits a kick on a charging Crews but Crews responds with a series of clotheslines. He then hits a big splash in the corner. Finn recovers and goes for an attack on the apron but Crews counters with a big clothesline and Finn goes to the outside. Crews goes for flip attack off the apron but Balor gets out of the way. Crews anticipates this and lands on his feet on the ramp. Finn is already back in the ring and hits a big dive over the top rope on Crews. That was pretty awesome.
Finn tosses Crews back in the ring and goes up to the top rope for the Coup De Grace. He connects right on the back of the head of Crews and goes for the pin but Crews kicks out at the last second. Finn goes for a DDT but Crews counters by tackling Finn to the mat. He then hits a Samoan Drop and gets a two count on the pin attempt. Crews goes for an Enziguri but Balor sniffs it out and hits a Sling Blade on Crews. Apollo recovers in the corner, showing some fire, and hits Crews with a big boot. He then hits a huge Gorilla Press slam followed by a standing moonsault for a near fall. Crews goes for his toss powerbomb finisher but Balor counters with an enziguri and follows it up with another Sling Blade. He then hits the dropkick into the corner and the Coup De Grace. Instead of going for the cover Balor hits a big brain buster and then gets the three count.
This was a great match and both of these guys looked pretty amazing. Balor and Apollo shake hands and hug after the match, showing some great sportsmanship. In two weeks we’ll find out who is the number one contender as Samoa Joe will face off with Sami Zayn. So much great stuff going on in NXT! This was another great episode!
It’s February already! We are two months away from Wrestlemania 32 and I’ve decided I want to go as I want to see AJ Styles live. I want to see Nakamura vs. Zayn at Takeover: Dallas. I want to see Kevin Owens’ first WrestleMania appearance. There are a bunch of cool things to get excited about even if the likely main event of Triple H vs. Roman Reigns isn’t one of them. The match could surprise us all though. You never know, and that’s what makes wrestling so great. Let’s get this show on the road!
Tonight we are live in Birmingham, Alabama and we start things off with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Big “Suplex City” chants for Brock. Again, I really can’t do Paul Heyman justice so I recommend checking this out for yourself. I’ll do my best, though. Heyman talks about how the Wyatts’ conspiracy to remove Brock from the title picture at the Royal Rumble failed. When the time comes, he will have his revenge on the Wyatts. He said Stephanie did what was “Beast for Business” last week by putting Brock in the Fastlane match to decide who faces Triple H at WrestleMania. At Fastlane Brock will imprison both Ambrose and Reigns into Suplex City. He will stack one on top of the other and pin both at the same time. Triple H is a “Billion Dollar Trophy Husband.” That was awesome. Heyman is running down Ambrose, calling him a nutjob when Ambrose comes down to the ring.
Big cheers for Dean as he shows no fear stepping right into Brock’s face. He responds to Heyman’s nutjob comments by calling Heyman “Porky.” He says he isn’t crazy, he isn’t stupid. He respects Lesnar. But he wants the Title. He wants it so bad he’s going to fight his own brother for it and he’s going to fight Lesnar. He doesn’t want to fight Lesnar. He knows he is going to get a beating from both Lesnar and Reigns. He hopes Brock is prepared to give him the worst beating he has ever given because he is the Iron Man of the WWE. He says he wanted to tell Brock all this “out of respect.” He then leaves the ring. That was pretty great.
Kalisto vs. Rusev
Alberto Del Rio is at ringside on commentary. He will get his rematch against Kalisto for the U.S. Title at Fastlane. Rusev powers Kalisto into the corner out of the lockup and allows for a break. He does it a second time and this time goes for a punch but Kalisto hits a series of quick kicks. Rusev tries to turn a Kalisto hurricanrana into a powerbomb but Kalisto slides out of it. Rusev regains control with a series of stomps and kicks. He goes for another powerbomb but Kalisto sends him over the top rope with a headscissors. Kalisto goes for a plancha but Rusev responds with a big kick to the head as we go to break.
When we come back from the break Rusev is firmly in control in the ring. He hits a slam and gets a two count. Kalisto catches Rusev with a boot to the face in the corner and hits a tornado DDT to stun Rusev. He hits an enziguri off the ropes followed by a seated senton. He then hits a slingshot corkscrew off the ropes and goes for a splash but Rusev catches Kalisto and plants him to the mat with a huge slam. He gets a near fall. Rusev goes for a tackle into the corner but Kalisto dodges it and rolls up Rusev for a near fall of his own. Kalisto then hits a headscissors and plants Rusev into the mat, getting another two count.
Rusev rolls out of the ring and Kalisto goes for a plancha off the top turnbuckle. Rusev catches him and goes for a fallaway slam but Kalisto reverses and Rusev goes into the steps. Both men recover on the outside as the ref starts counting. Rusev tosses Kalisto onto the announce table but Kalisto lands on his feet and hits a headscissors. He then hits a hurricanrana off the apron and Rusev goes into the barricade. Kalisto gets back in the ring as the ref counts to ten and Rusev is counted out. Kalisto gets away as Rusev and ADR try to attack him in the ring. This was an exciting, fast paced match.
Backstage, Ambrose and Reigns are looking at the WWE Title and Stephanie comes in and talks some trash to Dean. She says Roman knows what it’s like to be so close to the title and compete for it at WrestleMania. She brings up all the partners who were betrayed, first mentioning Marty Janetty and then Seth Rollins betraying Reigns and Ambrose. She says she will test their partnership by having Reigns and Ambrose team up against The New Day tonight.
Rene interviews Brie Bella backstage, asking about Nikki’s recovery from neck surgery. Brie says Nikki is hopeful she will return to the ring but it will be a long recovery. Charlotte interrupts and says to pass her sympathies to Nikki. She wonders if she was responsible for Nikki’s injuries as Charlotte beat Nikki for the Divas championship and beat her again at Hell in A Cell. Pretty good heel work from Charlotte.
The Usos vs. Curtis Axel and Adam Rose
We got a pretty good Lillian botch as she called The Usos “Grammy award winning” instead of Slammy award winning. They replayed this after the commercial and the commentary team made some cracks about it. The Social Outcasts explain Bo’s absence by saying Bo Rida is working on some new tracks in the studio. In actuality, Bo and his real life brother Bray Wyatt had to leave RAW to be with their ailing grandfather, Blackjack Mulligan, who was hospitalized Monday Night. Best wishes to Mulligan and the rest of the family.
Axel starts off against Jay. Heath distracts Jay at the bell, allowing Axel to take control with a series of stomps in the corner. He tags in Adam Rose, who hits a combo backbreaker off the top rope. The Social Outcasts remain firmly in control, using quick tags, double teams, and distractions on the outside to maintain the advantage. Axel tags in and wears down Jay with a headlock, maintaining control despite Jay’s attempts to power out. Just as it appears Jay will get out of it, Axel whips him into the ropes and nails a dropkick. He tags in Adam Rose, who gets Jay in a sleeper hold. Jay does power out of this, hits an enziguri on Rose, and manages to get the hot tag to Jimmy. Jimmy clears the ring with a series of superkicks. He tags back in Jay as they hit a double superkick on Rose and then Jay hits the top rope splash to get the pinfall win. I enjoyed this match for the most part but the Uso comeback was pretty by the books. This definitely didn’t do much to establish The Social Outcasts as serious competitors as they were basically all taken down by Jimmy Uso.
MizTV with AJ Styles
The Miz starts off by praising AJ’s Royal Rumble debut. He says that AJ’s story is phenomenal and introduces AJ, who comes out to a big pop. We are shown highlights from AJ’s great RAW debut match against Chris Jericho as AJ makes his way into the ring. Miz starts off by saying that the WWE Universe wants to know who AJ Styles is. AJ tries to respond but The Miz proceeds to tell AJ’s story of overcoming the odds to become a star football player in high school. He then talks about AJ’s career in wrestling, traveling all over the globe and performing in smaller organizations. He says that AJ spent those years wondering what it would be like to be in the WWE and finally he made it into the Royal Rumble. He says doubts still linger for AJ despite his achievements. He then asks AJ where does he go from here but interrupts AJ before he can answer.
The Miz says AJ reminds him of his former protege, Daniel Bryan. He says Bryan didn’t do anything of merit until The Miz took him under his wing. He tries to get a Yes chant going and the crowd responds with No’s. He offers to be AJ’s mentor. The crowd starts booing and this sets off the Miz, who reminds us of all his achievements and asks who the hell AJ is anyway. AJ may have been a big fish in a small pond, but this is an ocean full of sharks and AJ will drown if he listens to the WWE Universe. The crowd is now chanting for AJ. The Miz says there is no chance in hell AJ can make it in the WWE without him. AJ finally attacks The Miz, slamming him in to a chair and punching him in the corner. Miz takes off and runs backstage as AJ yells “Do you know me know? I’m AJ Styles!” Great way to spotlight AJ and the crowd ate it up.
Brie Bella vs. Charlotte
Brie is accompanied by Alicia Fox and Charlotte is accompanied by her dad. Charlotte starts off by taunting Brie by doing some push ups in the ring. Brie goes after Charlotte and hits some punches followed by some stiff kicks and a dropkick. She goes for a running attack but Charlotte dodges it and sends Brie flying through the ropes. She attacks Brie on the outside and tosses her back in. She then slams her face into the mat twice and goes for a pin, getting a two count. Charlotte follows this up with a couple knees to the midsection and slams Brie back to the mat. She gets Brie in a leglock to the head and slams her to the mat. Brie bridges out and turns it into a pin attempt, getting a two count of her own. She hits Charlotte with a running bulldog and gets another two count. Charlotte looks for a backslide but Brie counters with a backslide of her own, getting another near fall. Brie goes to the top rope but Charlotte catches her on the ropes. Brie then counters with a sleeper. Ric Flair hops up on the apron. He and Alicia Fox get into it a bit and Ric keeps up his antics on the apron. Charlotte gets out of the sleeper with a backdrop slam on Brie and goes for the Figure Eight. Brie manages to reverse it into a rollup and surprises Charlotte with a three count. Brie celebrates her victory over the Divas Champion as Charlotte looks on in stunned silence. Brie looked really good here but I’m not sure what this means for the title picture as you already have Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks vying for the belt. I guess more viable contenders is never a bad thing and I don’t see any problem with making Charlotte look vulnerable.
The Big Show vs. Erick Rowan
As I mentioned previously, Bray isn’t here as he had to leave to be with his grandfather. Rowan comes to the ring with Harper and Strowman. Harper and Strowman surround Big Show on the outside before the match starts and Show fends them off by grabbing the ring steps. He starts off against Harper with some punches and goes after Rowan in the corner. Rowan goes for a slam but Show counters with a suplex. Strowman and Harper both try to distract Show but he knocks them off the apron. Rowan goes for a running attack from behind but Show counters with a chokeslam and gets the three count. That was a nothing match but its main purpose was to set up the beat down of Big Show in the ring after the match. The Wyatts roll Show outside the ring and whip him into the steps. Harper gets up on the steps and kicks Show in the face. Strowman and Rowan then slam Big Show onto the steps to finish things off.
Titus O’Neil vs. Tyler Breeze
It’s good to see Breeze on RAW as we haven’t seen much of him lately. O’Neil starts things off by countering a Breeze headlock with a slam. Breeze goes for a top rope attack and Titus catches him and nails Breeze with a backbreaker. Breeze makes a comeback by countering a Titus corner attack and nailing Titus with a series of kicks. He then gets Titus in a half crab but Titus gets to the ropes. Breeze tries to drag Titus to the corner but Titus throws him across the ring with one arm. He then nails Breeze with a huge clothesline and follows it up with Clash of the Titus to get the win. That was very disappointing. Maybe the rumors of Breeze being in the doghouse with Vince are true. Titus appears to have tweaked his knee though as he removes his knee pad and limps out of the ring.
Backstage Triple H confronts Brock Lesnar and asks if Lesnar is going soft as he let Dean walk out of the ring earlier. Brock says they will find out at WrestleMania and he will see Triple H there.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
Hopefully this will be great and bring things up after the last two not so great matches. Owens starts off in control, tossing Ziggler to the outside and talking trash. Ziggler hits a dropkick and Owens rolls out of the ring. Ziggler goes for a running attack on the outside but Owens counters and throws him into the timekeeper’s area as we go to break. When we come back Owens has Dolph back in the ring in a headlock. Dolph attempts to power out but Owens whips him into the turnbuckle and he hits it hard. Owens follows up with his cannonball splash. He then nails a downed Ziggler with some kicks. Ziggler fights back with some punches and a headbutt but Owens nails a big boot and gets a two count on Ziggler. Owens continues to taunt Dolph as he nails him with some stomps. He punches Ziggler in the head as he continues to taunt him. He then nails a short clothesline and goes for a senton but Ziggler rolls out of the way.
Owens goes for a tackle in the corner but Ziggler gets out of the way and Owens eats the ringpost. Ziggler nails a series of splashes but Owens powers out with a big slam. He whips Ziggler in the ropes, going for the Pop Up Powerbomb but Ziggler hangs on to the ropes and nails Owens with a superkick. Owens goes to the outside and Ziggler hits the fameasser on the floor. He rolls Owens back in and goes for the pin but only gets a two count. Ziggler goes for the Zig Zag but Owens counters with a backdrop slam and gets a near fall. Owens catches Ziggler in the corner and hits another cannonball splash. He then goes for the Pop Up Powerbomb but Dolph counters with the Zig Zag and gets the three count for the win. This was a great back and forth match. Ziggler took some crazy bumps and both of these guys looked great.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Sasha starts off with an in-ring promo to tell us she’s back and that this time it is on her terms. She is on her own now and nothing with stop her from becoming Divas Champion. Sasha says Becky and Brie can’t hold a candle to her. Naomi and Tamina interrupt. They say this is a proud moment as Sasha is out on her own. Sasha says Team BAD will always be her family but she needs to do this on her own. Naomi says she understands, that she knew this would happen as all partnerships must end at some point. Naomi says they can be competitors and still be sisters. Naomi says they have Sasha’s back. Sasha says she still wants the three of them to have unity and they do their unity handshake thing as Becky comes to the ring.
Sasha and Becky lock up and Sasha slams Becky to the mat, taunting Becky. Becky hits a takedown on Sasha but Sasha counters with a rollover and get get a one count. Becky counters with a pin attempt of her own, getting a one count as well. The two hit the ropes and Becky hits an armdrag on Sasha. Sasha then gets Becky in the corner and hits Becky with a double knee drop. Sasha hits a running armdrag out of the corner and then kicks Becky off the apron and to the floor. Naomi and Tamina grab Becky but Sasha tells them to leave Becky alone as she says she has this. Naomi and Tamina seem to oblige but then drag Sasha out of the ring and attack her on the floor, causing the ref to ring the bell. Becky comes to Sasha’s aid as they take out Naomi and Tamina together. So now Team BAD has imploded. Hopefully this will be the end of the silly faction wars that stifled what could have been a great Divas Revolution and we will get some real feuds and matches.
Rene Young interviews Chris Jericho backstage, bringing up Jericho’s loss to AJ Styles on last week’s RAW. Jericho says everyone is talking about Styles but he isn’t talking about him, he’s thinking about him constantly. He says anything can happen in the WWE and that it happened last week. He puts over AJ, saying AJ is there for the long haul and he is the real deal. He says he is going to be paying close attention to what happens in AJ’s match with The Miz on Smackdown.
R-Truth is in the bathroom and finds Goldust standing on a toilet. Goldust asks him to be his tag team partner and that Golden Truth is a hot idea. R-Truth says he’s flattered but he doesn’t want to tag with him. Goldust asks why and Truth says Goldust is a weirdo. He then makes fun of the fact that Goldust just stepped in a toilet. Goldust makes fun of the fact that Truth’s last partner was the imaginary Little Jimmy. R-Truth says that cuts deep and leaves.
The New Day vs. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
Big E starts off by calling Birmingham “Booty-ham” in their intro. Paul Heyman is at ringside on commentary. Xavier gets on the mic and says they are sick and tired of hearing about Bootygate, which they use to refer to The Rock’s comments about them on RAW last week. They say The Rock has a problem with foul language and that this is family programming. They implore Rock to think of the children. They cut to a kid wearing a Bullet Club shirt. They say tonight is about revenge and tonight they will beat up The Rock’s cousin and his friend, referring to them as “Ambreigns.” Great stuff from The New Day, as always.
Kofi and Big E will be competing for The New Day and it’s Reigns and Kofi to start things off. Kofi starts off with a series of headlocks and hammerlocks and taunts Reigns. They go for a test of strength and Kofi kicks out of it and gets Reigns in a headlock. Roman powers out and then knocks Kofi down with a right hand. Ambrose tags in and punches Kofi in the corner. He follows up with a side suplex and then nails a downed Kofi with a running clothesline. They then trade blows in the corner and Ambrose comes out on top after a series of chops. He then slams Kofi and tags in Reigns. Reigns goes for a tackle in the corner and Kofi counters with an elbow. Reigns then nails him with a big boot. He goes for a Superman Punch but Big E drags Kofi out of the ring as we go to break.
When we come back from the break Kofi is in control in the ring. We are shown that during the break Big E tackled Reigns into the barricade on the outside. Big E tags in and nails Reigns with a series of kicks to the gut. He then goes for a splash on the apron but Reigns rolls out of the way and Big E lands hard. Reigns tags in Ambrose who hits a series of strikes on Big E. He then counters a Big E Irish whip with a running forearm. Kofi tries to interfere and Ambrose goes after him on the outside, throwing him into the barricade. Big E tries to capitalize on the distraction but Ambrose tosses him to the outside. Ambrose then nails a suicide dive on Big E. While Ambrose is celebrating, Xavier nails him with a kick from behind and Big E is able to tag out to Kofi. Kofi hits Ambrose with a kick from the apron, tosses him inside, and gets a two count. The New Day then gang up on Ambrose with the Unicorn Stampede. They finish the double team off with Big E whipping Kofi into the corner and Kofi nailing a dropkick on Ambrose.
Kofi continues the assault on Ambrose, hitting a chop and a big kick in the corner. He tags in Big E who gets Ambrose in an abdominal stretch. He spanks Ambrose repeatedly trying to get a “New Day Rocks” chant going but Ambrose gets out of it by biting Big E on the nose. Big E responds with slam and tags out to Kofi. Kofi goes for a flying attack off the top turnbuckle but Ambrose counters. Kofi manages to tag out to Big E before Ambrose can get the energy to tag in Reigns. Big E goes for a slam but Ambrose counters with a suplex, creating some space and allowing him to make the hot tag to Reigns. Big E tags in Kofi but Reigns is all over him. He nails a series of slams and then some clotheslines in the corner.Very mixed reaction from the crowd. Reigns goes for a Superman Punch but Xavier and Big E distract Reigns on the apron. He fights them off but Kofi is able to capitalize and hits a kick on Reigns in the corner and is able to tag out to Big E. Big E goes for a slam but Reigns reverses and both men are down. They both tag in their partners and Ambrose tries to clean house but gets distracted by Xavier on the outside. Kofi hits a big kick from the apron but Reigns hits a clothesline off the steps on Kofi. Big E surprises Reigns with a big slam on the floor. Big E tosses Ambrose back in and nails him with a running attack. He sets up Ambrose for a Kofi attack from the top rope but Ambrose gets out of it. Reigns takes out Kofi with a spear and Ambrose nails Big E with Dirty Deeds to get the three count.
Before Reigns and Ambrose can celebrate, Brock comes out. Kofi and Xavier attack Reigns and Ambrose from behind. Reigns and Ambrose are able to fight them off but Brock gets in the ring and nails Ambrose with an F5. We end the show with Brock standing tall on the stage. Overall this was an enjoyable RAW. There were a couple dud matches but I think it did a good job building feuds and matches for Fastlane and continuing the road to WrestleMania. There was a lot of emphasis on Ambrose tonight, which is exciting, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
The Hulu preview image for this week’s Smackdown features Neville and Kalisto so that is a good sign. I am optimistic as this is also A.J. Styles’ Smackdown debut. We start off with a recap of the events of the Royal Rumble and RAW. We then start off things in Tampa with the New Day. Has Kofi explained why he wears Iron Sheik boots? We’re shown a clip from RAW where The New Day faced off with The Rock on the mic and got taken out by The Rock and The Usos. So far this show has been 7 minutes of recaps. Back in real time, The New Day say that The Rock should should be ashamed of himself and that he doesn’t have gold like they do. They criticize Rocky’s use of harsh language, saying he has a “doo doo mouth,” and remind him it is a PG show. The Miz comes down and says he was also humiliated by The Rock and that he does not get upstaged. The Usos interrupt. They make fun of the fact that The Miz is still talking about main eventing Wrestlemania 4 years ago. Titus O’Neil and Dolph Ziggler join The Usos at ringside and they charge the ring and clear out The Miz and New Day. Did Prime Time Players break up again and they just didn’t bother to tell anybody? Darren Young wrestled in the Royal Rumble pre-show so it’s not like he’s hurt.
The New Day & The Miz vs. The Usos, Dolph Ziggler, and Titus O’Neil
Xavier starts off against Jay but quickly tags to The Miz. Jay gets Miz in a headlock but The Miz sends him into the ropes and Jay responds with a shoulder tackle. Some good work to get things started between Jay and The Miz. Lots of great trash talking by Xavier as Jay tags in Jimmy and they hit a double elbow on The Miz. The Miz nails Jimmy with a jawbreaker and tags out to Kofi. Jimmy tags in Titus, who nails Kofi with a big slap to the chest in the corner. Kofi tries to get away but Titus drags him into the corner and hits another slap. The crowd asks for another and Titus obliges. He tags in Dolph who hits a standing dropkick and gets a two count. Kofi goes for the eyes and then hits a dropkick. He tags in Xavier who hits a dropkick of his own. Xavier powers Dolph into the corner and tags in Big E. Big E hits a big slam and gets a two count. Dolph makes a comeback and gets a hot tag to Jimmy Uso. Jimmy hits the corner splash and clears the ring.
Big E surprises Jimmy with a belly to belly suplex and The New Day takes control. The Miz joins in on the Unicorn Stampede followed by Miz’s corner clothesline. Kofi is tagged in and Jimmy attempts to make a comeback. Kofi gets a hot tag to Xavier but Woods gets smashed into the ropes and Jimmy makes the tag to Titus while Woods barely tags in The Miz. Titus clears the ring and all hell breaks loose. Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on Woods and The Usos take care of the rest of The New Day with superkicks and dives to the outside. The Miz goes for a Skull Crushing Finale on Dolph but Titus comes from behind and nails him with Clash of the Titus to get the pinfall. This was a great, fast paced match but it’s time to find some new opponents for The New Day.
Neville vs. Kalisto (U.S. Championship Match)
This should be a great match. Some quick action to start at the bell. Kalisto goes for a monkey flip and Neville lands on his feet. Kalisto nails a great flying headscissors out of a handstand and Neville goes to the outside. Kalisto goes for a hurricanrana off the apron and Neville catches him and goes for a running powerbomb but Kalisto reverses it into a hurricanrana into the barricade. They both land hard. After the break Kalisto goes for a springboard hurricanrana but Neville turns it into a powerbomb and gets a two count. Neville takes control and they go up to the top rope. Kalisto turns the tables on Neville and hits an amazing hurricanrana from the top rope. Mauro calls it a super frankensteiner. I think that is the same thing but I am not really sure. I think I need to take a class on wrestling moves. Let me know your thoughts if you are reading this. Neville comes back with some stiff kicks to the midsection of Kalisto. He goes for a deadlift suplex but Kalisto counters with a sunset flip and gets a two count. Neville goes for another suplex and this time Kalisto counters with a modified Salida Del Sol and gets the three count for the win. This was really good. There were some near botches but both of these guys worked hard and made it look great.
The Highlight Reel with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
Man, I wish Jericho was back full time. He has looked great during this run. He is always great on the mic and has proved he definitely is still great in the ring. Jericho starts things off by talking about the Royal Rumble, reminding us he went 51 minutes. He then talks about RAW and his match with AJ Styles, which was amazing. He hypes up Fastlane, which will feature a triple threat match between Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Brock Lesnar to determine who will face Triple H at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship.
Jericho introduces Dean Ambrose, who comes to the ring with flowers. Jericho then introduces Roman Reigns, who seems to be getting a decent reaction, especially from kids. Again, it’s hard to tell what is real on Smackdown but judging by the looks on people’s faces he is getting a good response. Ambrose gives the flowers to Jericho, saying his set could use some decoration as it basically consists of one TV in the middle of the ring. Reigns and Ambrose say that their friendship won’t be affected by their Fastlane match but they are prepared to beat the heck out of each other. Jericho asks them about Lesnar and the fact that while Reigns knows what to expect, Dean hasn’t been in the ring with Lesnar. Ambrose says he’s not afraid because he’s indestructible. He has no time to be scared because a trip to WrestleMania is on the line. Reigns responds by telling Dean that Lesnar is for real and he doesn’t understand. He is unlike anyone he’s competed against. Dean says that technically he doesn’t have to beat Lesnar, he just has to beat Reigns. Roman responds by saying it will be the first time because Dean hasn’t beat Roman.
The Wyatt Family interrupt. Bray says The Wyatts slayed the Beast at the Royal Rumble. Reigns says he doesn’t know what Bray is talking about and that he should come down to the ring so they can settle it with their fists. Bray says tonight he plans to put Roman, Jericho, and Ambrose to the test. He challenges them to a match tonight and tells them to run. Remember when Jericho turned his back on Dean and Roman just a few months ago? I guess no one else does either. How do you have a show with a big writing staff and claim you are just as great as scripted dramas and stuff like that happens all the time? Just put AJ out there so I can try to not be bothered by this.
The Social Outcasts are in the ring after the break. They say they should have been the hottest thing trending after RAW and the awesome Bo Rida rap battle but instead everyone is talking about AJ Styles. Axel is upset that AJ ended his year long run in the Royal Rumble and calls him out.
Curtis Axel vs. AJ Styles
Man, everything about AJ is awesome. The theme song is really warming up on me. If you missed his match against Jericho on RAW you owe it to yourself to check it out. Axel is no Jericho but I am looking forward to this match as well. AJ hits an awesome dropkick to start things off followed by some stiff kicks and a knee drop. Axel hangs on to the ring apron and comes back with a clothesline. He then nails a series of stomps on AJ in the corner and a big dropkick. He follows this up with a backbreaker. He goes for an elbow off the second rope and AJ rolls out of the way. AJ nails a huge clothesline followed by a roundhouse kick. He goes for a fireman’s carry but Axel gets out of it.
AJ hits a beautiful Pele kick off the second turnbuckle and gets a two count. The Social Outcasts try to distract AJ and AJ nails Rose with a flying punch and then takes out Bo and Slater with a dive to the outside. Axel tries to drag AJ back in the ring but AJ catches him on the ropes. He goes for a springboard attack but Axel nails him with a kick. Axel goes for a Perfect Plex but AJ gets out of it and hits a Pele Kick followed by a Styles Clash for the three count. Awesome. The Outcasts try to attack AJ after the match but AJ is too quick for them.
Charlotte vs. Natalya
Natalya and Charlotte had the match that truly sparked a revolution in NXT but somehow I’m doubting we’ll get anything close to that tonight. We do get some great chain wrestling and back and forth to start things off. Natalya hits a snapmare and runs right over Charlotte’s face. She follows this up with a dropkick. Charlotte gets a rope break and surprises Natalya with a huge kick to the face. Charlotte takes her time going for the pin and gets a two count. She locks Nattie in an abdominal stretch and Natalya manages to reverse it . Charlotte attempts a reversal but Natalya turns it into a backslide. Charlotte gets out of that right away. Natalya hits Nattie by Nature and then a German release suplex. Charlotte rolls out of the ring. Natalya tosses her back in and Ric distracts Natalya with some woos. Charlotte takes advantage by hitting a chop block and then gets Natalya in the Figure 8 to get the submission victory. Charlotte locks Nattie in the Figure 4 after the match and Becky Lynch makes the save. Charlotte stares down Becky on the ramp. This match got more time than I thought it would and was a great match. I’m glad Becky is still in the mix as I was worried she would be an afterthought after Sasha made her return at the Royal Rumble.
R-Truth is stretching outside the arena and Goldust joins him. He asks if he can run with R-Truth. R-Truth seems a little unsure about it. He seems to still think Goldust is asking to sleep with him. Goldust assures him he just wants to be in a tag team but then says he needs a groin massage and R-Truth takes off. I don’t mind them teaming up, it could actually be pretty fun but I’m already kind of tired of these skits. They sound like they were written by a 12 year old.
The Wyatts vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Chris Jericho
Jericho starts things off against Erick Rowan as it’s Harper, Rowan, and Bray in for The Wyatts. Jericho tags in Ambrose and they double team Rowan. Ambrose hits a big dropkick and tags in Roman. Roman hits some strikes in the neutral corner. He drives Rowan into his corner and tags in Jericho. Rowan takes control and he tags in Harper as they hit a double team on Jericho. Harper hits some palm strikes followed by a stiff kick. He goes for a backdrop but Jericho hits a big boot. He hits an elbow off the turnbuckle and goes for the Walls of Jericho. Harper powers out of it but Jericho responds with an enziguri and gets a two count. He then hits a running clothesline into the corner and then goes for a mounted ten punch but Harper counters with a delayed vertical suplex.
When we come back from break Bray is in and nails Jericho with a clothesline. He tags in Rowan who grinds his fists into the temple of Jericho. Jericho tries to come back with some punches but Rowan counters with a backbreaker and gets a two count on the pin attempt. He tags out to Harper and Harper gets Jericho in a modified reverse figure four leg lock. Jericho gets out of it with some strikes to the face but Harper locks him in a sleeper hold. Jericho again powers out and goes for a crossbody but Harper counters with a Michinoku Driver and gets a near fall. That was pretty awesome. Harper is one of the most underrated wrestlers on the roster and Jericho is bringing out the greatness in him. Harper hits a big boot to knock Reigns off the apron and then goes for a running splash on Jericho but Jericho hits a Codebreaker and tags out to Ambrose while Harper tags in Rowan.
Ambrose hits a Thesz press on Rowan and follows this up with a forearm and a running bulldog. He hits an elbow off the turnbuckle and gets a two count on Rowan. He then hits a slingshot dive onto Bray on the outside. Rowan goes for a dive but Ambrose lowers the rope and Rowan lands hard on the outside. Ambrose tosses Rowan back in the ring and goes for a diving attack but Rowan counters with a spinning heel kick and gets a two count. Rowan tags in Bray, who hits a big senton on Ambrose. He goes for Sister Abigail but Ambrose counters with a rollup and gets a two count. Bray nails him with a punch but Ambrose hits a rebound clothesline. He gets a hot tag to Reigns as Bray tags in Harper and Reigns goes to town on Harper. He hits a series of clotheslines in the corner and then nails a big boot on Harper and goes for the pin. Rowan breaks it up Ambrose takes out Rowan and Jericho nails a springboard dropkick on Wyatt. Jericho and Ambrose then hit double springboard planchas to the outside on Wyatt and Rowan. Pretty awesome.
Back in the ring, Reigns goes for a Superman punch but Strowman hits him from behind in the corner and Harper gets a rollup off the distraction for a two count. Reigns hits the Superman punch and goes for the pin but Strowman breaks it up, dragging Reigns out of the ring. The ref calls for the bell and Ambrose tries to get a sleeper on Strowman but Strowman slams him to the ground. Jericho attacks Strowman but Strowman tosses him across the announce table. The Wyatts drag Reigns into the ring.
The Big Show comes down and takes out Harper and Rowan on the floor. He faces off with Strowman. Harper and Rowan attack Show from behind and the Wyatts all gang up on Show in the ring. Roman comes in and goes for a Superman punch on Strowman but Strowman catches him in a chokehold. Big Show gets up and gets Stowman in a chokehold. He tosses Strowman out of the ring as Bray goes for Sister Abigail on Reigns. Roman gets out of it and nails a Superman punch on Bray. Jericho and Ambrose get back in and take out Rowan, leaving Harper all alone. The Big Show throws Harper right into a Reigns spear and the good guys stand tall in the ring. I guess Big Show is a good guy again. This was another really good episode of Smackdown. I enjoyed all the matches, especially Neville vs. Kalisto and AJ vs. Axel.
This should be a very exciting episode of NXT as the Main Event is a triple threat match featuring Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, and Samoa Joe to determine the new #1 contender for the NXT Championship.
American Alpha vs. Blake & Murphy
Jordan and Gable are sporting a new name and new gear. These guys are awesome. Murphy and Jordan start things off. Murphy tries to sweep the leg and Jordan counters with a big German suplex. He works Murphy’s arm and tags in Gable, who continues working the arm. The crowd is chanting “Gable” to the tune of Kurt Angle’s theme song. It’s pretty great. Murphy creates some space and tags in Blake but Gable is able to take both of them down and works the arm of Blake. Blake reverses but Gable counters with a snapmare. The two go back and forth running the ropes and Gable hits him with some gorgeous armdrags followed by a headscissors. Gable is a machine!
Blake manages to tag out to Murphy and Gable armdrags him as well followed by a schoolboy for a two count. Murphy leapfrogs over Gable and comes down hard on his knee. He feigns injury and Blake takes out Gable while the ref is distracted. Murphy capitalizes and takes out the knee of Gable. Blake and Murphy are firmly in control off of that distraction.Murphy continues working over Gable’s knee. Gable manages to power out and launches Murphy over the rope. He goes for the tag but Murphy tags Blake in and Blake stops him. This only turns out to be temporary as Gable gets the hot tag to Jordan. Jordan nails Blake and Murphy with dropkicks and hits a huge German suplex on Blake who lands on Murphy. He follows this up with a big shoulder tackle into the corner on Blake. Jordan and Gable hit their assisted slam finisher and Gable gets the three count for the win. This was a great match and American Alpha continue their rise to the top of the NXT tag team ranks.
Emma and Dana Brooke are interviewed backstage. Emma will be facing Carmella next week. Dana says Carmella hasn’t done a thing in NXT and Emma says Carmella doesn’t have the skills to beat Bayley, let alone Emma. Emma says Carmella has gotten lucky and next week her luck will run out. Good promo work by Emma and Dana.
We get a video showing Asuka’s success in NXT and her feud with Dana Brooke and Emma. Asuka is amazing and definitely the future of the NXT Women’s division.
Nia Jax vs. Liv Morgan
Nia is accompanied to the ring by Eva Marie. Liv Morgan looked pretty good in the Battle Royale but I’m not sure we’ll be seeing much of her tonight. Jax gets Morgan in an airplane spin. Morgan tries to counter with a sunset flip and Jax slams her to the mat. She then gets Morgan in a sleeper hold. Morgan manages to counter with a jawbreaker and hits a couple dropkicks but Nia stays on her feet and tosses Morgan to the mat. Nia hits a sidewalk slam followed by a big leg drop and the pin for the win. Nia looked pretty good here.
Carmella, Enzo, and Cass give a promo backstage. Carmella says she’ll beat Emma next week all by herself and that the Emmalution is a joke. Enzo and Cass say they heard what Dash and Dawson said last week about them. Enzo does his usual thing. Pretty great as always.
Bull Dempsey vs. Alex Riley
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Bull Dempsey and it’s been even longer since we’ve seen Alex Riley. Riley has been out with an injury and he looks pretty good. Riley starts off with some big kicks to Dempsey. Riley then backs him into the corner and nails him with a series of punches. He then hits a neckbreaker and gets a two count on the pin attempt. Riley doesn’t let off and gets Bull in a headlock. Bull reverses and hits a series of lefts to the head of Riley but Riley surprises Bull with a huge spinebuster. Very impressive. Riley then hits Bull with a big running knee and gets the three count. This is definitely a different side of Alex Riley and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
After the break we get an interview in the locker room with Alex Riley. He says he’s had a lot time on his hands and has contacted the office multiple times about his return but no one cares. He complains that Sami Zayn had a much hyped up return but everyone is surprised to see him here. Pretty good stuff.
Elias Samson vs. John Skyler
Poor Skyler didn’t even get a title card. Samson hits some kicks and stomps to start things off. No one seems to know what the deal is with Samson but I’m not sure why we’re supposed to care. He plays the guitar and is a drifter. Skyler attempts a comeback but Samson nails a knee to the side of the head and then hits his spinning neckbreaker finisher to get the pinfall. I want to like Samson but so far he hasn’t shown us much of anything. He’s not scary, that’s for sure. The announcers are trying to say he’s scary and that’s not really working.
The Hype Bros are backstage and they talk about the Vaudevillains new videos which are dark and feature them just staring into the camera. Mojo is wearing some amazing Zubaz. They hype up their match with The Vaudevillains next week. This wasn’t too bad and that’s saying a lot for these guys. I think I might actually be warming up to them. Maybe.
We are shown a recap of the great match between Apollo Crews and Finn Balor a couple months ago that was stopped by Baron Corbin. Balor will take on Crews next week in a non-title rematch. That should be great.
Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn (NXT Championship #1 Contender Match)
I am really surprised we haven’t seen Samoa Joe on the main roster yet but I guess they are biding their time. Makes sense. It looks like Joe and Corbin are going to double team Zayn but Corbin surprises Joe with a punch to the head. Corbin tosses Zayn into Joe, knocking Joe out of the ring. Corbin then works over Zayn but Zayn comes back with some forearms. Corbin goes for a running attack but Zayn ducks and Corbin goes over the ropes and to the floor. Zayn goes for a diving attack but is tripped up by Joe. Joe and Zayn brawl on the outside. Joe nails Corbin with a huge boot and then nails Zayn with a headbutt. He tosses Zayn back into the ring and hits a series of fists in the corner. Joe is looking great here, very fierce. Joe and Zayn trade forearms. Joe nails him with an uppercut and hits a snapmare followed by a chop to the back of the neck and a kick to the head. Joe attempts a kneedrop to Zayn but Zayn rolls out of the way and hits a dropkick to the head. Joe rolls out of the ring and Corbin surprises Zayn from behind. He hits some stomps and punches on a grounded Zayn. He follows this up with a toss into the turnbuckle as we go to a break.
When we come back from break Corbin has Zayn in the corner and lands a big punch. Zayn comes back and then Joe takes down Corbin with a punch. Joe and Zayn go at it and Sami takes him down with a big clothesline. He then sends Corbin to the outside with another huge clothesline. He then dives over the top rope and nails both Joe and Corbin. Sami tosses Corbin back in the ring and goes for a spinning DDT but Corbin slams him to the mat. Joe takes control, hitting Corbin with a boot to the face and then a senton on both Corbin and Zayn. He nails a powerslam on Zayn and gets a near fall.
Joe drags Zayn to the corner and smashes his face into the turnbuckle. He hits a series of strikes and then goes for the Muscle Buster. Sami breaks free but Joe nails an enziguri. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster again but Corbin breaks it up and then goes for a superplex on Zayn. Zayn fights out of it and pushes Corbin off. He leapfrogs over Corbin and then nails him with the Blue Thunder Bomb. Corbin manages to kick out and Zayn is winded against the ropes. Joe comes from behind and drags Sami to the floor. He gets Zayn in the Kokina Clutch on the ramp and Zayn is out. Joe gets back in the ring and nails Corbin with a knee to the head in the corner. Corbin goes for a running attack and Corbin counters with the End of Days. Zayn dives back into the ring and breaks the pin.
An angry Corbin unloads on Sami Zayn in the corner. He goes for a clothesline and Zayn counters with an exploder suplex. Zayn then hits the Helluva Kick and goes for the pin but Joe breaks it up from the outside. Joe and Zayn brawl on the outside and Zayn ends up throwing Joe into the ring steps. Zayn gets back in the ring and goes after the downed Corbin. Corbin tries to kick him from the ground but Zayn locks him in a Sharpshooter. Corbin is almost to the ropes but Zayn drags him back into the middle of the ring. Joe then runs in and gets Corbin in the crossface while Zayn still has the Sharpshooter locked in. Corbin taps. Both Joe and Zayn think they are the winner. Regal comes down to try and sort things out. Both Zayn and Joe argue their case with Regal. Regal says he is going to have to go and review the tape. Joe says there is nothing to review and he leaves the ring in disgust. It looks like we’ll find out Regal’s decision next week. Great match and a great cliffhanger ending to the show. I really dug it.
It’s the Season 2 premiere of Lucha Underground! I was at the taping for this episode. This was one of quite a few tapings where I stood in the balcony. For most of these episodes I was right on the railing but for this episode I was behind a row of people because the balcony was so packed and I didn’t know how necessary it was to line up early to get a good spot. Going to the tapings this season at the Temple in Boyle Heights has been amazing. It’s some of the best wrestling I’ve seen live and the energy of the crowd is awesome. It definitely requires a lot of patience as you have to stand in line to get into the lot, then stand in line to check in, then stand in another line to get your seat assignment, then stand in line again until they let you in to the Temple. It’s a lot of hours of standing in line, but like I said, it’s worth it.
The first set of tapings was a bit rough as I then stood up in the balcony for the whole show. That’s a lot of hours on your feet but it was an amazing experience. At the audience tapings they only film the matches and the in-ring promos. We aren’t shown the vignettes and unless you are sitting in the section behind Striker and Vampiro, you can’t hear the commentary. Vampiro would come out occasionally and tells us a few things about what was going on, such as the fact that Dario Cueto was missing and that Catrina was now in charge of the Temple. Where there was once a band, a throne has been erected for the Lucha Underground Champion, Mil Muertes. Let’s get to the show!
We start off with a shot of Vampiro. But this is not Vampiro. It’s Ian Hodgkinson. He is in a psychiatric hospital. A doctor asks him if he knows what day it is. Ian says graduation day. He has flashbacks to the match with Pentagon. The doctor asks if he is having hallucinations and violent thoughts. Ian says they are all gone. The doctor gives him an anti-psychotic medication and says he must avoid the people and places that trigger his violent impulses. Ian/Vampiro then attacks the doctor and smashes his head into the table. He then bites the doctor. We then discover this was a hallucination and Ian tells the doctor he can do what he asks. Striker picks up Vampiro and they head to the Temple. Striker says the Temple is a much darker place now. These vignettes are nuts and awesome.
Next we’re in Catrina’s new office. Fenix enters, holding the Gift of the Gods championship. He says he is back for Mil Muertes and the title. Catrina says as the new ruler of the temple she will make him wait until next week, but this week he will face King Cuerno with the Gift of the Gods Championship on the line. Mil Muertes is seated on his throne and will be watching. Vampiro and Striker welcome us back to the Temple!
King Cuerno vs. Fenix
It’s really dark in the Temple for these episodes and since I was in the back I don’t think I’m really visible. Cuerno and Fenix exchange armdrags. Some great chain wrestling and Fenix nails a standing moonsault for a two count. Fenix goes for a dive but Cuerno catches him and nails him with a DDT to the outside from the floor. Cuerno gets back in the ring and nails him with his big spear dive. Cuerno drags Fenix inside and gets a two count. He hits Fenix with a stiff kick. Fenix hits a slingshot dropkick and then walks the ropes and nails him with a headscissors. He then hits his slingshot cutter off the ropes and Cuerno gets out of the ring. Fenix hits an amazing corkscrew plancha to the outside. The crowd is going nuts. Fenix hits a big kick to Cuerno in the corner. Cuerno responds with a huge diving punch. Fenix then nails Cuerno with a superkick but can’t capitalize as Cuerno nails him with a jumping sidekick.
Both men are down but Cuerno is the first to get up. He irish whips Fenix but Fenix counters with another slingshot cutter and then gets Fenix in a headlock submission. Cuerno gets out of it and gets Fenix in a bow and arrow submission but Fenix powers out. He hits a huge stomp off the top rope onto Cuerno and gets a near fall. Fenix hits a series of kicks and strikes but Cuerno counters with Thrill of the Hunt for a near fall of his own. Cuerno charges into the corner but Fenix counters with a huge kick. He springs off the ropes and misses a 450 onto Cuerno. Cuerno scoops up Fenix and hits a new crazy piledriver finisher and gets the pin to win the Gift of the Gods championship. This match was amazing and super fast paced.
We see the former Trios Champions Ivelisse, Angelico, and Son of Havoc arrive at the temple as we cut to commercial. Catrina tells them that Mil Muertes wants to see them face each other and that whoever wins the match will face Mil Muertes for the title tonight. Ivelisse accepts the challenge and says that when she wins the championship she’s coming for Catrina.
Catrina comes to the ring and beckons for Melissa. She whispers in Melissa’s ear and Melissa then announces the next match.
Son of Havoc vs. Angelico vs. Ivelisse (#1 Contenders Match)
I freaking love Angelico. I was so happy I got to see him at PWG and here in Lucha Underground. He was injured in January and had to miss the last part of the season but he is here for now and that is awesome to see. Before we go to commercial we cut to a quick vignette where Catrina congratulates Cuerno backstage. He tells Catrina she has nothing to worry about and neither does Mil. When we come back from commercial the bell rings and the action starts fast and furious. Havoc wants the three to do a test of strength but Angelico jokes around with Ivelisse and gets a big kick by her for his troubles. Angelico goes for a corner dive on Havoc but Havoc gets out of the way and Angelico nails Ivelisse instead. Back and forth between Angelico and Havoc. Angelico goes after Ivelisse in the corner but Havoc grabs Angelico from behind and Ivelisse nails Angelico with a top rope dive. She then brawls with Havoc and nails him with a series of kicks.
Angelico nails a splash on Havoc but Ivelisse nails Angelico with an enziguri. Angelico gets tossed to the outside by Havoc and Havoc nails a suicide dive on Angelico. He then nails a diving attack on Ivelisse on the other side of the floor. He throws Angelico back in the ring and hits some strikes followed by a standing moonsault. He gets a two count on the pin attempt. Ivelisse mounts a comeback hitting some big attacks on Angelico but Angelico regains control and tosses Ivelisse to the outside. Havoc nails Angelico with a series of strikes. He goes for a top rope attack on Angelico but before he can do that Ivelisse trips Havoc up on the turnbuckle and he goes down hard. With Havoc out of action she focuses her attention on Angelico and manages to roll him up and get the three count. Ivelisse will face Mil Muertes for the title tonight!
The next vignette starts with three random dudes in a car stopped somewhere trying to find an underground fight club. Black Lotus approaches their car and asks if they are lost. The guys tell her they are looking for an underground fight club that they were told about and Lotus tells them to come with her. When we come back from commercial Mil Muertes descends from his throne to face Ivelisse and defend his title.
Ivelisse vs. Mil Muertes (Lucha Underground Championship Match)
Catrina accompanies Mil Muertes to the ring and summons the Disciples of Death, who take out Angelico and Son of Havoc while Catrina and Mil Muertes restrain Ivelisse. The Disciples of Death carry Angelico and Son of Havoc out of the Temple. The bell rings and Mil Muertes slams Ivelisse to the mat with one hand. Ivelisse responds with a series of kicks and strikes that do nothing to Muertes. Muertes nails Ivelisse with a backbreaker. He then slams her into the turnbuckle head first. Ivelisse attempts to mount a comeback with a series of punches but Muertes tosses her clear across the ring by her head. He kicks her in the midsection, toying with her. Ivelisse manages to get Muertes in a choke but Muertes powers out. He slams Ivelisse to the ground.
Ivelisse attempts a triangle hold but Muertes powers through and pins her to the mat for a two count. He whips Ivelisse into the ropes and Ivelisse manages to get Muertes in a rope assisted armbar but Muertes again powers out of it and tosses Ivelisse to the outside. Ivelisse surprises Muertes with a big top rope spinning DDT and gets a two count. Catrina enters the ring and gets in Ivelisse’s face with the stone of power. Muertes tries to capitalize on the distraction and goes for a spear but Ivelisse gets out of the way and Muertes nails Catrina. Ivelisse then pins Muertes with a schoolboy and gets a near fall. I really thought she had it there. Great storytelling here. Muertes comes back with a huge slam and gets the three count for the pin.
Catrina goes for the lick of death but slams Ivelisse back to the mat instead and calls for Muertes to punish her some more. Puma comes in for the save and gets Ivelisse out of the ring. Pentagon comes from behind, hits Cuerno with the backstabber and then snaps his arm with the armbreaker. Pentagon stands tall as the injured Cuerno is assisted away by Catrina.
The final vignette has Black Lotus approaching a building with the three guys who were in the car. Dario Cueto is standing outside. Black Lotus tells Cueto that the guys are looking for some underground fighting. Cueto warns them that it can get kind of violent inside. The leader of the guys says he doesn’t buy it and asks why “the chick” is here. Lotus responds by smashing his face with an elbow. One of the other guys says they love violence and Cueto says the admission is $20. They pay Cueto and Cueto uses the key around his neck to open the building. As they go inside, the random guy asks Cueto who’s fighting tonight. Cueto tells him that they are as he closes the door and we hear screams.
This was an awesome first episode and as great as the in-ring action is, the vignettes really add so much to the overall storytelling. They’re what make this show unique. My biggest observation from being in the Temple for this is that Pentagon Jr. was by far the most over wrestler pretty much any time he came out. This first appearance was no exception as the crowd went nuts. Expect more great things to come as this season is just getting started!
It’s the RAW after the Royal Rumble! Last night’s PPV met all of my expectations and then some. Even though I was disappointed with the finish and having to deal with what will likely be 2+ months of Triple H as champion, overall it was a great card and built up some feuds and continued some stories. WWE has been hyping the return of a “major star” tonight, so hopefully that will be cool and AJ Styles will be making his RAW debut as well.
We start off with a recap of the Royal Rumble. Haha, some guy in the Royal Rumble audience was holding up a stuffed poo emoji when Triple H won the belt. Vince and Stephanie come strutting out. We were discussing in the MBWS Facebook Group today about how the WWE has basically been doing a form of Austin vs. McMahon since 1997. It’s old. It needs to go. Hopefully this is the last run. Hopefully. Vince says Roman Reigns is broken. Vince runs down the crowd quite a bit. Vince says that he confesses that he enjoys the misfortunes and misery of others and that no one is more miserable than Roman Reigns and just like the WWE Universe, he’s going to stay that way. Steph said that we were all living in a pipe dream if we thought AJ, Ambrose, or Roman were going to win. Huge AJ chants. Steph introduces Triple H, who comes to the ring wearing a suit. He opens his jacket to reveal the WWE title around his waist.
Triple H says he has to hand it to Roman Reigns. He says Roman Reigns could be the best but he is not because he lacks respect and that Roman needs to learn his place. He says that Vince McMahon might as well be God and that he won’t allow Roman to disrespect him. He says a lot of people will ask why he needs to be WWE Champion. He says he doesn’t need to be WWE champion but he wants to be WWE champion because people like Roman Reigns want to be WWE champion and they don’t deserve it and until he says so he will be champion. Loud Roman chants from the crowd. Steph wonders who Triple H is going to teach a lesson to at WrestleMania. She says tonight they will be evaluating all the wrestlers and tonight they will announce the Main Event at FastLane. The winner of that match will challenge Triple H for the title at WrestleMania 32.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
Owens’ left elbow is taped up after last night’s brutal Last Man Standing match. Ziggler hits a superkick as soon as the bell rings and gets a two count. Owens rolls out of the ring and he and Ziggler brawl at ringside. Owens slams Ziggler into the barricade and drags him back in the ring, nailing him with punches and kicks in the corner. Owens goes for a backdrop but Ziggler counters it with a dropkick and Owens again rolls out of the ring. After the break Owens is in control and nails Ziggler with a headbutt. He gets a two count on the pin attempt. They go back and forth a bit. Ziggler nails the Fameasser and gets a two count. He then goes for a suplex but Owens counters by going for a Samoan Drop. Ziggler counters by getting Owens in sleeper hold. Owens gets out and goes for the cannonball splash in the corner but Dolph gets out of the way. Owens nails Ziggler with a huge suplex out of the corner.
It looks like Dolph is out of it but he nails Owens with another superkick and gets a two count. Ziggler tries to suplex Owens off the second turnbuckle but Owens shoves him off. Owens goes to the top rope but Ziggler jumps up for a suplex. Owens slides out and lands on the apron, catching Ziggler on the turnbuckle. Owens then hits the pop-up powerbomb and gets the pin. This was a good match with lots of back and forth action.
JoJo interviews Reigns backstage. Pretty standard stuff here about Reigns saying he will show something to Triple H tonight. Back in arena, the Social Outcasts are in the ring and Heath Slater talks trash to Flo Rida who is in the front row. Adam Rose calls Heath Slater “Red Dragon” and that when he gets mad he spits fire. Pretty great. Bo Dallas then challenges Flo Rida to get in the ring and Flo Rida jumps the barrier and does so. Heath Slater challenges Flo to a rap battle. Flo Rida is surprised at this and Heath then says he won’t be facing Heath, he’ll be facing “Bo Rida!” Bo shows off his sweet rap skills. Flo then does a diss rap on Heath Slater alluding to their previous altercation at WrestleMania 28. He then makes makes fun of the rest of the Social Outcasts and brings out the Dudleys.
The Dudley Boyz vs. Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel
The Dudleys are working over Curtis Axel when we come back from the break. Axel takes control after a distraction by The Social Outcasts. Bo then leads the Outcasts in a “Bo Train” around the ring. Axel and Bo re-enter the ring and work over Bubba. Bubba creates some space and makes a hot tag to D-Von who firmly takes control hitting Axel with a series of slams and clotheslines. He gets a two count after a big clothesline. D-Von tags in Bubba and they hit a double neckbreaker. Heath Slater gets up on the apron but Flo Rida dumps him into the ring. Flo and Heath stare each other down. Flo feigns a punch and Heath runs away right into Bubba. D-Von hits the Wassup on Slater and then Bubba Ray and D-Von hit the 3D on Curtis Axel to get the win. They celebrate with Flo Rida. This was pretty fun.
Rene interviews AJ regarding his match tonight with Chris Jericho. She asks AJ to tell those who don’t know who exactly AJ styles is. Before he can really do this, he is interrupted by Jericho. Jericho says AJ has never competed in the big leagues and this is his big shot. He calls him kid and walks away. After the break the announce team discusses Nikki Bella’s announcement today that she has a career threatening neck injury and will be having surgery. Bummer for Nikki and best wishes to her.
Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles
What an awesome debut RAW match for Styles. Jericho was awesome in the Rumble last night, lasting over 50 minutes and really keeping things interesting the whole time. Great entrance by AJ Styles and a good response from the crowd. JBL acknowledges AJ as a two time IWGP champion. Big AJ chant from the crowd as the bell rings. They lock up and go into the corner for a clean break. We get some good chain wrestling and AJ hits a nice armdrag. He taunts Jericho and they lock up again. This time Jericho takes control and hits some Flair chops and then an elbow. AJ hits his big running clothesline and Jericho goes down. Jericho powers AJ into the corner and hits some more big chops. Jericho hits an awesome springboard dropkick off the ropes and knocks AJ off the apron and to the floor. AJ rolls back in and Jericho hits a suplex. He barely gets a one count before AJ kicks out. AJ responds with some chops of his own. Jericho regains control after reversing an AJ corner attack but AJ hits a great dropkick and knocks Jericho to the outside as we go to break. This is a great match so far.
When we come back from break Jericho has AJ in a headlock in the ring and AJ powers out. They both go for cross bodys and take each other out. Styles hits some quick strikes and then nails a flying forearm into the corner. Jericho hits Styles with an elbow and goes for the Walls of Jericho but Styles rolls out of it and nails him with a knee to the back of a neck. Jericho recovers and nails Styles with a Northern Lights suplex. AJ bridges out. Jericho hits an enziguri and gets a two count. More Flair chops by Jericho. Styles creates some space and hits a huge flying punch from the top rope. He gets a near fall on the pin attempt. Jericho surprises Styles with a punch. Styles responds with a hurricanrana attempt but Jericho reverses it into the Walls of Jericho. Styles barely makes it to the ropes.
Styles nails Jericho with a Pele kick and goes to the top rope. He goes for a frog splash but Jericho rolls out of the way. Jericho goes for a Lionsault but Styles gets his knees up. He goes for a Styles Clash but Jericho manages to roll out of it and turns it into a pin attempt on AJ. AJ reverses this with a sunset flip and gets the pin. This was an amazing match. Styles offers Jericho his hand afterward. Jericho shakes it but things seem a little tense between them as Jericho pulls Styles in closer to him and then leaves the ring.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
It’s great to see Sasha back. She had a huge moment at the Rumble last night coming out after the Divas Title match and attacking both Becky and Charlotte. Sasha starts the match by taunting Becky about her loss last night. Becky responds by slamming Sasha to the mat and then hitting a jumping sidekick into the corner. Sasha responds with strikes of her own and takes Becky down with a slap. She goes for the pin and gets a one and a half count. The two go back and forth a bit, vying for control. Becky hits a series of strikes and then an exploder suplex out of the corner, getting a two count on the pin attempt. Sasha regains control and nails Becky with a stomp to the midsection in the corner. She gets a two count on Becky. Sasha goes for a suplex but Becky rolls through and gets an armbar on Sasha. Sasha powers out of this and nails Becky with the Bank Statement. Charlotte runs in and attacks Becky. Sasha then goes after Charlotte but Charlotte nails her with Natural Selection. Charlotte stands tall in the ring. Pretty great match and it continued to build to future matches between these outstanding women.
Back in the locker room, Goldust is looking for R-Truth. He finds his headphones and starts listening to them. Truth arrives and asks what he is doing. Goldust says that now that the Royal Rumble is over he thinks they should be partners. R-Truth says there is nothing wrong with that but he is a married man. Goldust doesn’t understand. As R-Truth leaves Goldust realizes the misunderstanding and yells that he wants them to be tag team partners as Golden Truth. He asks him to think about it. That could definitely be fun.
Bray Wyatt vs. Kane
So Kane is back. Exciting. I think he’s fine if he’s used properly so hopefully that will be the case and he isn’t in the main event picture. Kane and Bray exchange power moves to start things off. Kane gets Bray in the corner and nails a series of punches. He hits a nice looking dropkick on a prone Bray. Kane is looking pretty good here. The crowd is chanting “We Want Lesnar.” I guess I can’t blame them. Bray and Kane go back and forth and the crowd is booing pretty loudly. Bray misses a senton and Kane plants him with a DDT. He then nails a series of corner splashes followed by a sidewalk slam, getting a two count on the pin attempt. Kane goes for a chokeslam but Bray counters this. They go back and forth a bit until Bray hits the Sister Abigail after a distraction from the Wyatts at ringside. Nothing exciting here. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great. The Wyatts gang up on Kane after the match. You’ve seen this all before.
After the break Rich Brennan is standing outside a limo that we are led to believe contains the big returning WWE superstar. He knocks on the door and The Miz gets out. The Miz starts to deliver a promo but a truck drives in and The Rock gets out. He calls The Miz a flying nun and asks him to park his truck. The Rock greets Rick Ross backstage. He then gives Big Show a hug. He reminds him of the 2000 Royal Rumble where they both went over at the same time and says Big Show should have won. He says that Big Show could have been The Scorpion King and gone on to a big movie career. Show crushes the laptop he’s holding. Pretty funny stuff. The Rock continues on backstage and runs into a smiling Lana. He reminds her of the time they were in Brooklyn and that Lana came over to his hotel afterwards. Rusev comes from behind and The Rock congratulates them on their upcoming wedding. That was a little dumb and more than a bit degrading. He then continues with his promo as he walks to the curtain. He. does his “Finally…” bit, his music hits, and Rock enters the arena to a big pop from the Miami crowd.
It takes awhile for the crowd to settle down enough for the Rock to start talking. He asks Miami if they are ready for WrestleMania. He says he plans on being at WrestleMania and they will break records. He calls Byron Saxton “the other black dude that I don’t know.” Ha. The Rock says he’s going off script as he goes to talk to some guys dressed as Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and The Rock. He says “The weed in Miami must be good tonight.” The Rock then resumes his promo but is interrupted by The New Day. Xavier gives Rock a hard time for not knowing who Byron Saxton is. They talk about how they beat Rocky’s cousins, The Usos, last night. Good stuff from Kofi. They all mock Rocky’s tongue flapping. Awesome. They run down Miami and tell Rock he was smart to leave it for Hollywood. The Rock mocks the unicorn horns by calling them llama penises, which the crowd starts chanting.
Some great back and forth between The Rock and New Day. You should just watch this and enjoy it. The Rock says Big E is the result of The Incredible Hulk banging Urkel. He then invites them to come in the ring so he can take Francesca 2 and shove it up their candy asses. He then calls them Uni-Bitches. Definitely pushing that PG rating tonight. Xavier asks Miami if they want to see The New Day get in the ring with The Rock and then says they don’t deserve it and they start to leave. The Rock says he has a Plan B and The Usos attack The New Day on the ramp. Big E gets The Rock Bottom. Kofi gets a Samoan drop. Xavier gets superkicked by the Usos and a spinebuster from The Rock followed by The People’s Elbow. The Rock thanks the WWE Universe and says he’ll see them at WrestleMania. This was really fun overall.
Brie Bella and Alicia Fox vs. Paige and Natalya
It still hasn’t been explained why Paige and Natalya are teaming up. I know Total Divas is popular and has gotten a lot of exposure but these nothing matches are not helping anyone. Brie hits some great looking strikes on Natalya and this match has already gone longer than last week’s Total Divas match. Nattie manages to tag in Paige and Paige goes to work on Brie. She goes for the PTO but Alicia Fox makes the save. Nattie comes in to take out Fox and Paige hits the Ram-Paige on Brie to get the pin. This was only slightly longer and better than last week’s match. Bleh.
The Miz vs. Kalisto
This is a non-title match. Kalisto has had quite a month. Let’s hope he can continue the momentum. The Miz starts off on offense but Kalisto quickly comes back with a series of kicks. He hits a spinning headscissors, tossing Miz out of the ring. He then hits a big dive to the outside. He tosses The Miz back in the ring and gets a two count. The Miz makes a comeback and slams Kalisto to the mat. He then mocks Kalisto’s lucha chant. This gives Kalisto the space to mount a comeback of his own and after a series of strikes he hits a big splash off the top rope. After the break The Miz is back in control. He hits a big clothesline and gets a two count. He follows up with some mounted punches and then slams Kalisto into the corner, hitting him with some kicks to the midsection. He then hits his flying corner clothesline. The Miz nails a diving strike off the top turnbuckle and gets a two count on the pin attempt. Lots of great offense from The Miz but the crowd is getting to him and Kalisto capitalizes with a kick to the head. He then hits a big seated senton off the top rope and then a springboard corkscrew. He goes for a pin and gets a two count. The Miz regains control by hitting a big DDT. He goes for The Skull Crushing Finale but Kalisto counters with the Salida Del Sol and gets the three count. This match was way better than I expected. The Miz can be really good in the ring with the right opponent.
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Rusev
Del Rio and Wade Barrett accompany Sheamus and Rusev. Reigns and Sheamus start things off and Reigns quickly goes on the attack. Big clothesline by Reigns and some quick tags and double teams by the former SHIELD teammates.. When we come back from the break Sheamus is in control and has Reigns in a headlock. Roman powers out and attempts to attack Sheamus in the corner but he’s met by a big kick. Roman surprises Sheamus with a flying forearm and manages to tag out Ambrose. Ambrose takes firm control over Sheamus, hitting his forearm attacks as well as a suicide dive to the outside on Sheamus. The League of Nations regains control after distracting Ambrose and attacking him on the outside. Rusev tags in and manhandles a weakened Ambrose. He hits a series of gutwrench suplexes and tags out to Sheamus. Sheamus hits three Irish Curse backbreakers and goes for the pin, getting a two count. Ambrose tries to mount a comeback but Sheamus shuts him down by shoving him into the corner and tagging in Rusev. Rusev hits Ambrose with his big judo kicks and then gets him in a headlock. Ambrose still shows some fight and manages to power out of it with a backdrop. He rolls out of the ring but Rusev throws him back in and tags out to Sheamus, who hits him with several forearms on the apron as well as some elbows.
Ambrose surprises Sheamus with a clothesline on the outside and manages to roll back in and get a hot tag to Reigns. Reigns cleans house both inside and outside the ring. He throws Rusev into the corner and hits a series of clotheslines, finishing it off with a big right hand. Barrett and ADR distract Reigns long enough for Rusev to recover and nail Reigns with a big kick. He tags out to Sheamus, who nails Reigns with a Brogue Kick and goes for the pin. Ambrose makes the save and goes after The League of Nations on the outside. Back in the ring, Sheamus Irish whips Reigns who counters with a huge spear and pins Sheamus for the win. This match was pretty good thanks to Ambrose.
After the match Reigns and Ambrose get payback on Rusev for his attack on Reigns last night by double powerbombing Rusev through the announce table. Stephanie comes out and says that the main event for FastLane will be a triple threat between Ambrose, Reigns, and Brock Lesnar. The winner will face Triple H at WrestleMania. It’s pretty obvious where this is going. This was a pretty great RAW overall, highlighted by the amazing match between AJ Styles and Chris Jericho. Storyline wise it seems kind of dumb for them to make a big deal out of how they were evaluating ALL of the wrestlers tonight to determine who would go on to the FastLane match and then they chose Lesnar, who wasn’t even there tonight. I might just be nitpicking though. That should be a great match.
It’s time for the second biggest WWE event of the year! I am praying right now that all this Triple H winning talk is a giant swerve. At this point I’d be happy if all the Bray Wyatt hype isn’t a smokescreen like I’ve been saying it is. I hope they do something cool with AJ Styles if he’s making his debut here, otherwise I hope they save him for tomorrow night. If Daniel Bryan comes back tonight, which seems highly doubtful, the only acceptable scenario that doesn’t involve him winning the Rumble is him and AJ eliminating each other, setting up a Wrestlemania match between the two. Enough conjecture, we’ve got a pre-show match to watch!
Fatal Four Way Tag Match: Darren Young and Damien Sandow vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger vs. The Ascension
This is random as hell and the winners get to enter the Rumble. The crowd is way behind the Dudleys. Henry manhandles Young for awhile. The crowd starts chanting for Sandow who comes in to a big pop and hits his elbow on Swagger. No explanation why Young is tagging with Sandow. Is Titus already in the Rumble match? That’s kind of crappy. Everyone stops brawling and we cut to a commercial for the new WWE Network shows. I’m not even mad because this match is pretty meaningless. When we come back Swagger has Konnor in a rest hold so it looks like we didn’t miss anything. D-Von finally comes in only to get worked over by The Ascension. This crowd is already pretty rowdy. If things go bad during the Rumble match like they have the last couple years this could be pretty fun. The Dudleys finally take control and hit the 3D on Viktor. It seems like the save attempt was a little botched but apparently Swagger made the save. Henry then hits a splash on Viktor and gets the pin. Swagger and Henry are going to the Rumble and the rest of these guys are going to hang out in catering for the rest of the night.
We open the show with Vince and Stephanie getting out of a limo talking about the weather in Orlando. So exciting! JoJo interviews them. Vince squats down to mock JoJo’s height. Dang, Vince.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens (Intercontinental Title Last Man Standing Match)
This could be the match of the night and a good way to get things started. Somewhere Jim Ross is yelling about the Champion not coming out second. Ambrose and Owens start off brawling right off the bell. Big “Fight Owens Fight” chants. They both trade chops. Big running bulldog by Ambrose sends Owens to the outside. Ambrose hits a suicide dive and Owens takes out Michael Cole. Electronics are being thrown all over. Ambrose grabs a cane from underneath the ring and goes to town on Ambrose with it. Owens hits a superkick and then a cannonball splash on Ambrose into the barricade. “Holy shit” chants from the crowd. Cole sounds legit upset as he says his glasses are broken. It’s Owens’ turn with the Singapore cane as he breaks it over Ambrose. He nails a senton. Ref counts to 4 before Ambrose gets up. Owens tosses him back outside. He grabs a bunch of chairs from under the ring and tosses them into the ring . He takes one back outside and nails Ambrose with it. He then lounges in the ring and the ref counts to 4 before Ambrose gets up.
I haven’t really been paying attention to the commentary but JBL just said something about a match between John Cena and Umaga being one of the best he’s ever seen. OK. More chair shots by Owens and the crowd is firmly behind him. Owens goes for a powerbomb on to the chairs but Ambrose reverses and backdrops Owens onto the chairs. The ref counts to 5 before both men get up. Owens rolls out, Ambrose goes for a suicide dive but Owens catches him and drives him into the apron. Owens follows this up by slamming Ambrose into the steps. The ref gets to 8 before Ambrose gets up. Owens gets a table from under the ring. Someone says something to Owens and Owens responds with “Thanksgiving is in November, moron!” Awesome. Owens stacks two tables and then goes for a superplex off the turnbuckle and through the tables. Ambrose blocks it with a headbutt and then throws a chair right in his face. Owens stumbles around the ring with the chair hanging on his head. Ambrose punches the chair into his face. Owens responds with a superkick and goes for a pop-up powerbomb but Ambrose counters with a hurricanrana. He hits Dirty Deeds. Owens gets up at a count of 8. He is stumbling around though. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on a chair and that looks to be it but Owens rolls out of the ring and onto his feet at the count of 9. So awesome. Big “Fight Owens Fight” chants at that.
Ambrose sets up a table in front of the announce table. He places Owens on the table and goes to the top turnbuckle. He nails an elbow drop on Owens through the table and the ref starts counting as both men are down. They both get up at the count of 8. This match has definitely delivered so far and it’s not over yet. Ambrose tosses a table in the ring. He then hits some more chair shots on Owens. Owens is still talking trash, yelling “I hate you!” at Ambrose, who responds with an “I hate you!” in kind. Ambrose sets up the table in the ring and places Owens on the top turnbuckle. Owens manages to reverse whatever Ambrose was planning and drives Ambrose though the table. Owens gets up at the 6 count and Ambrose manages to just beat the count. Owens tells him to stay down and hits a huge pop-up powerbomb. The crowd is on their feet, Ambrose isn’t moving. Ambrose gets up at the last second. Owens nails him with a vicious chairshot to the back. He sets up Ambrose on a bunch of chairs and climbs the turnbuckle. Ambrose gets up and tosses Owens off the top turnbuckle and through the two tables set up on the floor. Holy shit indeed. The ref counts to ten and Ambrose is still champion. Amazing match!
The New Day vs. The Usos (Tag Team Titles Match)
Big E and Kofi come out and ask for a moment of silence for the dearly departed Francesca. That is quickly broken up by Xavier, who comes out with a new trombone that he dubs as Francesca 2. Great promo by The New Day. It almost sounds like the crowd is saying “No!” in response to the Uso chant but it’s hard to tell. They definitely seem to be behind The New Day. The Usos take control early against Kofi and the crowd is not having it. Loud boos. I wonder if Vince is already panicking. Kofi hits a jawbreaker and tags out to Big E, who dodges a corner attack by Jay and throws Jay into the corner post and out of the ring. Jay regains control on the outside but Xavier hits him from behind and The New Day regain control. Xavier hijacks someone’s headset and it’s pretty great. The crowd is chanting for Francesca and Xavier refuses, saying he’ll play when he want to. Kofi reverses a superkick from Jay into a leg lock and tags in Big E, who nails a big splash.
Big E gets a huge “New Day Rocks” chant going by slapping Jay on the back. Jay finally creates some space and gets what should be a hot tag to Jimmy but the crowd is booing the Usos into oblivion. Jimmy hits a barrage of offense on Big E and gets a two count. Kofi tries to distract Jimmy and ends up brawling with Jay on the outside. Big E capitalizes and slams Jimmy off the top rope and gets a near fall. Kofi tries to distract Jimmy again on the apron but Jay nails a dive off the barricade onto Kofi. Big E then hits a brutal looking dive and drives Jimmy onto the floor. He tosses Jimmy into the ring and Kofi goes for a top rope attack but misses. Jimmy tags out and Jay hits a splash onto Kofi and goes for the pin but Xavier pus Kofi’s foot under the rope. Big E hits a blind tag on Kofi in the midst of all the confusion in the ring. Jimmy goes up for a big splash after a superkick on Kofi, who he still thinks is legal. Big E hits Jay with the Big Ending after catching him in mid-air and gets the pin. This match seemed like it was going south but it really picked up towards the end.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto (U.S. Championship Match)
These guys had two great matches last week. Here’s hoping the rubber match is just as good. Del Rio takes control early. He tosses Kalisto into the corner and hits some punches with the crowd counting along in Spanish. Kalisto counters with a kick to the back and tosses Del Rio to the outside. He hits some chops on Del Rio and tosses him back inside. Kalisto goes to the top rope but Del Rio hits a running enziguri to regain control. Kalisto fights back with a series of quick kicks. He goes for a running attack but Del Rio stops it with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He hits a top rope attack and gets a two count. He tosses Kalisto to the outside and Kalisto lands hard. Kalisto manages to hit a hurricanrana on Del Rio on the floor and tosses Del rio back in. He goes for a spinning headscissors but Del Rio counters with a double knee smash.
Del Rio goes for Kalisto’s mask but Kalisto fights him off and hits a seated senton off the top rope. Del Rio catches him with a big kick and gets a two count. He goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Kalisto gets out of it. Kalisto goes to the top rope, dodges a running an enziguri by Del Rio and hits a dive off the top. He then hits a spinning corkscrew off the ropes and gets a two count. He goes for another top rope attack but Del Rio counters and hits a big suplex off the turnbuckle. Kalisto gets into the ropes. He botches some sort of running attack but recovers and turns it into a pin attempt for a two count. Del Rio catches Kalisto on the turnbuckle with a headbutt. He goes for a stomp but Kalisto rolls out. He hits Del Rio with the Salida Del Sol but Del Rio gets his foot on the ropes. Del Rio counters a dive off the ropes by Kalisto with an awesome double knee attack and gets a two count. Del Rio pulls the pad off the buckle and tries to toss Kalisto into the exposed buckle. Kalisto stops short and Del Rio tries again but Kalisto reverses it with a headscissors and Del Rio eats the exposed turnbuckle. Kalisto follows up with a Salida Del Sol and gets the pinfall. This was another great match and we have a new U.S. Champion!
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte (Divas Title Match)
Fingers crossed they give this the time it deserves. Judging by the clock we might actually get that. Great exchanges of offense to start. Becky goes for Disarmer right off the bat and Charlotte rolls out of it. Becky bridges out of a pin attempt. Great back and forth between Becky and Charlotte. Lots of woos for Ric at ringside. Becky gets out of an armbar by sending Charlotte flying through the ropes. Charlotte tries to attack from the apron but Becky sends her flying off again. Charlotte tries to put Ric between them but Becky isn’t having it. Ric grabs Becky and kisses her. Ugh. Charlotte capitalizes on the distraction and takes control. She tosses Becky back inside and we get some good back and forth between Charlotte and Becky. Charlotte hits a series of stiff knees on Becky and slams her to the mat. She’s doing a good job of getting heat and taunting Becky. She slows things down and gets her in a leglock to the head. Becky tries to bridge out of it but Charlotte slams her to the mat repeatedly and continues to apply pressure with the leglock. Becky manages to fight out and gets Charlotte in the Electric Chair position and hits a big backdrop.
Both women are down but get up at the count of 7. They exchange blows and Becky starts showing some fire. She mounts her comeback and hits a series of attacks. Charlotte powers out of an exploder suplex attempt with a series of strikes and sets up Becky for the Figure 8. Becky powers out and the two exchange another series of counters. She sets Charlotte up for the Disarmer but Charlotte rolls through and hits her with a big spear. She gets a two count, goes for another pin and gets another two count. Charlotte hits a series of strikes in the corner. She goes for a slam off the top but Becky counters into the Disarmer. Charlotte powers out of it and slams Becky to the mat. Charlotte goes for a baseball slide but Becky gets out of the way and Charlotte nails Ric. Becky capitalizes on this and gets Charlotte in the Disarmer. Ric Flair throws his jacket onto Becky and Charlotte nails a distracted Becky with a spear and gets the pin to retain the title. This was a fantastic match, great storytelling. Charlotte attacks Becky after the bell and celebrates with Ric. Sasha comes out to a huge pop from the crowd! She tosses off her Boss ring and enters the ring. She then attacks Becky and tosses her out of the ring. She then shakes hands with Charlotte. Charlotte helps her father out of the ring and Sasha attacks her from behind and locks in the Bank Statement. She then holds up the title. Awesome.
Royal Rumble Match
Oh man, can the WWE pull off pretty much a perfect game here? Will they freaking learn from the mistakes of the past? They sure as hell didn’t last year so I guess we’ll see. Roman Reigns comes down to start things off. Very mixed reaction. Now mostly boos once the music stops. Rusev comes in at #2. God, I will never get tired of waiting to see who is going to come out next. Rusev tries to eliminate Reigns early much to the delight of the crowd. Roman ends up going through the second rope to the outside. Rusev starts to celebrate and Roman hits a big punch. He then gets back inside a nails a spear. He then tosses out Rusev for the elimination. Fuck. Pardon my language.
HOLY SHIT. AJ STYLES IS #3. This music kind of sucks but who cares. The crowd is going nuts. This could be bad news though for an AJ victory as he has a long way to go. Styles takes his time going to the ring. Big AJ chants. Reigns tries to eliminate AJ right away. Styles reverses and teases a Styles Clash. Roman powers out but Styles hits a Pele kick. He teases another Styles Clash but Roman hits a back drop. The crowd is going nuts. Tyler Breeze comes in at #4 and hits some awesome kicks on AJ. This is already the best Rumble match in years. The crowd is loudly chanting for AJ. AJ holds Breeze over his head and goes for the elimination. Reigns nails a punch and gets the assist as Breeze is eliminated. Curtis Axel comes in at #5. The chains are off! AJ is making everyone look like a million bucks. The rest of the Social Outcasts surround the ring and get taken out. Styles eliminates Axel. Jericho comes out at #6 to a huge pop. Styles and Jericho go at it and this is everything I wanted. Styles goes for the Styles Clash on Jericho and Jericho tries to turn it into the Walls of Jericho but Reigns hits him with a punch.
Kane is #7. It is his 17th Royal Rumble. That is nuts. He lights up everybody. More AJ chants as Kane tries to eliminate him. Styles gets out of it with a headbutt. Goldust is #8. It is his 11th Royal Rumble. Great offense by Goldust on Kane. AJ and Goldust go at it a bit and then Jericho nails AJ. Ryback is #9. I thought I loved this crowd but then they did a big “Feed Me More” chant. Kofi Kingston is #10. Styles takes a huge backdrop from Ryback. He then nails a huge punch off the top rope on Jericho. This is so awesome. Titus O’Neil is #11. He gets some big offense in. on everyone. The crowd isn’t really having it despite the fact that Titus is from Florida. Goldust gets eliminated by Titus.
R-Truth is #12. He goes under the ring and grabs a ladder, which he sets up in the middle of the ring. He climbs the ladder and reaches up for nothing. He thought this was a ladder match. He gets ceremoniously tossed out by Kane who then tosses the ladder out of the ring. Kofi almost gets tossed out by Kane but he lands on Big E’s shoulders. Big E carries him around the ring as The New Celebrates. Kofi grabs a soda from a fan. This is pretty great.
Luke Harper is #13. Kofi is still chilling out at ringside on Big E’s shoulders. Mr. McMahon comes out with The League of Nations and they pull Reigns under the ropes and outside the ring. They proceed to gang attack him on the outside as the action continues inside the ring. Rusev and Del Rio hit Reigns with their big kicks. Sheamus hits him with a Brogue Kick.
Stardust enters at #14. Rusev runs across all the announce tables and does a splash on Reigns through the Spanish announce table. That was pretty awesome.The Big Show is #15. McMahon and The League of Nations leave the ring area as Roman Reigns receives medical attention. Big Show eliminates O’Neil and Ryback. Neville comes in at #16 and hits Harper with a missile dropkick to start off. Reigns walks to the back with medical staff but hasn’t been eliminated. We missed Kofi Kingston getting eliminated by Jericho so they show a replay.
Braun Strowman enters his first Royal Rumble at #17. If he eliminates AJ I think there will be a riot. He eliminates Kane and faces off with Big Show. They exchange punches. Strowman gets him in his choke lock and tries to toss him over the ropes. Show tries to hang on but gets eliminated. Kevin Owens comes in at #18 and he is selling his injuries from the Last Man Standing match. Owens and AJ immediately go at it and the crowd goes nuts. Styles is nearly eliminated by Neville but he recovers and he gets Neville in the Styles clash but is superkicked by Owens. Owens then eliminates AJ! I can live with that. The crowd chants loudly for AJ as he leaves the ring area.
Dean Ambrose comes in at #19. He and Owens immediately go at it. As if this crowd couldn’t go any more crazy Sami Zayn comes in at #20. Man I really hope they don’t fuck this all up by Roman or Triple H winning. Sami goes right after Owens. Sami eliminates Owens. This is nuts. Erick Rowan comes in at #21. The Wyatts eliminate Neville and Stardust. It’s the Wyatts against Sami, Jericho, and Ambrose. Big Ole chants by the crowd. Mark Henry comes in at #22. The Wyatts gang up on Henry and toss him out of the ring to a chorus of boos. Sami tries to go after the Wyatts and they gang up on him as well. Strowman tosses out Sami Zayn and this crowd is about to turn on the whole thing. Brock Lesnar comes in at #23 to save things. Good timing there. Regardless of what happens from here this is easily the best booked Rumble match in ages. The crowd is chanting Suplex City as Lesnar destroys the Wyatts. He eliminates Rowan and hits Harper with a big German suplex. He goes for a German on Strowman but Strowman backs him into the corner. Lesnar dodges a corner attack and takes out Strowman with a clothesline.
Jack Swagger comes in at #24. He goes after Brock and Brock hits him with an F5 and quickly tosses him out. Thank you very much Swagger. Lesnar nails more suplexes on everyone. He goes back after Strowman and nails him with some huge running knees. The Miz comes out at #25. He gets on commentary instead of getting in the ring. Meanwhile Brock is still suplexing everybody. He eliminates Harper with a clothesline. Alberto Del Rio comes in at #26. He and Ambrose double team Lesnar but Lesnar powers out and nails Del Rio with a suplex. Lesnar goes back after Strowman. He clotheslines him out of the ring for the elimination. Jericho is still in this, which is very impressive. Bray Wyatt comes in at #27. He summons the Wyatts who get back in the ring and gang up on Lesnar. Brock manages to fight them off and tosses Harper, Rowan, and Strowman back out of the ring. He then nails Bray with a big suplex and goes for the F5 but Harper nails him with a kick and the Wyatts are back in the ring ganging up on Brock. Bray nails him with Sister Abigail. The Wyatts then eliminate Lesnar and I think the crowd is about to turn.
Dolph Ziggler comes in at #28 but the crowd has had the wind sucked out of it. The Miz finally comes in off commentary and nearly eliminates Ziggler. Ziggler recovers but is met by a Skull Crushing Finale by The Miz. Jericho and The Miz nearly eliminate Ziggler but then go at it. Sheamus comes in at #29. Reigns nails him from behind on the ramp and gets back in the ring, eliminating The Miz and Del Rio right away. The crowd is booing quite a bit. Triple H comes in at #30 and the crowd is actually cheering. I don’t understand that. Triple H booking himself into the championship scene is definitely not best for business but what do I know? I guess at this point he might be the best option but in a Rumble that saw AJ, Zayn, and Owens I think it’s a waste. Triple H hits Ziggler with a Pedigree. That speaks volumes. Reigns hits a spear on Wyatt. Reigns and Triple H circle each other and then exchange punches. The crowd is booing Reigns and cheering Triple H. Reigns fights out of the Pedigree. Sheamus cleans house but is met by Jericho who takes him out. Triple H eliminates Ziggler. He then faces off with Bray Wyatt. Triple H points at Reigns but Wyatt goes after Triple H. They go at it for awhile and eventually Triple H and Sheamus eliminate Wyatt. So much for that. Jericho is still in this and hits a huge cross body off the top rope on Ambrose. He nails a Codebreaker on Triple H but is then eliminated by Ambrose.
Your Final 4 are Ambrose, Sheamus, Triple H, and Reigns. Sheamus nails Ambrose with a Brogue Kick. He goes for another but Reigns hits him with a Superman punch and Sheamus is eliminated. Triple H comes from behind and eliminates Reigns. It’s down to Ambrose and Triple H and the crowd is way into this. They are cheering hard for Ambrose. Ambrose hits his rebound clothesline. He runs right into a boot and Triple H goes for the Pedigree but Ambrose gets out of it. He nearly eliminates Triple H but Hunter stays on the apron. Ambrose goes for another running attack for the elimination but Hunter dumps him over the top rope and eliminates him to win his 14th WWE Championship.
That was a super fun Rumble but I can’t help but be a bit disappointed as I don’t really want to see Triple H in the Main Event at Wrestlemania. This might make my decision on whether or not to sell my ticket easier but I’ll hang in for a bit and see what happens in the next few weeks. Overall this was an amazing card from top to bottom and a huge improvement over previous years.
It’s the last show before the Royal Rumble so hopefully it will be a good one. The preview image on Hulu is Titus O’Neil pinning Stardust so I don’t know, you guys. Tonight we’re getting a MizTV with Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens, which should be great. We’re also getting Roman Reigns vs. the entire League of Nations, which is not so great.
Y2J kicks off the show to a big pop from the crowd. He welcomes everyone to Thursday Night Jericho and hypes up the Royal Rumble. We’re shown clips from Monday’s Highlight Reel with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Jericho starts to say he’s going to win the Rumble but is interrupted by The New Day. Big E calls Jericho “Christoph.” They admonish Jericho for murdering Francesca the trombone. Xavier calls Jericho “Cristal.” Kofi calls him “Christobal.” These guys are great. Jericho makes fun of their unicorn horns. I really want a New Day shirt. Jericho gets the crowd chanting “Rooty tooty booty” and the New Day enter the ring. Jericho says he would like to take them on but The New Day have a six-man tag match right now with The Usos and Dolph Ziggler.
The New Day vs. The Usos and Dolph Ziggler
Dolph is sporting Uso facepaint. Jimmy starts off with Kofi and they exchange holds. Some fast and crisp work from both of these guys. Jimmy tags in Jay and they hit a double elbow drop. Kofi manages to tag out to Xavier. Jay hits a nice arm drag followed by some strikes in the corner and tags out to Dolph. Dolph gets a “New Day Sucks” chant going. Xavier powers Dolph into the corner and tags out to Big E, who hits a big belly to belly suplex followed by a splash for a two count. Kofi tags in and hits a big dropkick. The New Day takes control on Dolph with quick tags and double team moves. Kofi goes for an attack off the top rope but is met with a beautifully timed dropkick by Dolph. Dolph makes a hot tag to Jimmy who hits a corner splash on Kofi and then a lariat to Xavier on the apron. Big E interferes and The New Day regains control. The work over Jimmy on the outside during the break.
Back in the ring they nail Jimmy with their triple team kick attack where they continuously tag in and out while stomping on Jimmy. Mauro tells us that JBL has dubbed this “The Unicorn Stampede.” Big E makes a blind tag and surprises Jimmy with a big clothesline. Jimmy is able to create some space and Ziggler gets the hot tag. He clears the ring and hits a Fameasser on Woods. Xavier manages to dump Ziggler over the top turnbuckle and Ziggler takes a crazy bump to the outside. Jimmy makes the tag and prevents Xavier from tagging out while taking out Kofi and Big E. Ziggler and the Usos then hit Xavier with a triple superkick and Jimmy gets the pin. This was a fun, fast paced match.
Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox
Becky is sporting a cool new jacket. Ric Flair and Charlotte are on commentary to hype up the title match between Charlotte and Becky on Sunday. Great offense right off the bat from Becky and she gets a two count after a leg drop. They brawl on the outside and Fox hits Becky with an awesome bridging Northern Lights Suplex. Back inside, Becky regains control and hits a series of clotheslines on Fox. She then hits a jumping sidekick in the corner followed by a suplex. Fox goes for a clothesline but Becky reverses it into the Disarmer and gets the submission. She and Charlotte stare each other down. Another good outing from Becky and Alicia Fox looked good as well. It’s a shame they seem to only use her as a Bella sidekick or as a crazy person.
MizTV with Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens
The Miz starts off by talking about how grueling a Last Man Standing match is and is interrupted by Ambrose. Ambrose and Miz have some good back and forth. The Miz gets upset, lets Dean take over, and sits in the corner. Ambrose compares the Last Man Standing match to an amusement park and highlights the various rides, such as the apron that Owens likes so much and the ring steps, which he calls “The Bear Trap,” since Kevin Owens kind of looks like a bear. He calls the announce table “Memory Lane” because he has great memories of both going through the table and putting people through it. Owens comes out and disses Ambrose’s amusement park analogy, saying he’s more of a zoo enthusiast. He tells Ambrose how he’s going to knock him out and regain the Intercontinental Title. Ambrose invites him to come to the ring but before Owens can do that, The Miz attacks Ambrose from behind. He invites Owens to come in and join him for the double team. Owens comes down to the ring and makes like he’s going to attack Ambrose but instead nails The Miz with a pop up powerbomb. He tries to do the same on Ambrose but Ambrose hits him with a crossbody. He goes for Dirty Deeds on Owens but Owens slips out of it and out of the ring. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on The Miz and counts to ten along with the crowd. This was a good buildup for Sunday.
Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
The Wyatts are coming off their beatdown of Brock Lesnar in the final segment of RAW on Monday. Bray is being built up as a credible threat to win the Rumble and the title but I just don’t see that happening. Ryback gets the momentum early but Wyatt stops him with a big uppercut. Ryback counters with a Thesz press and slams Wyatt to the mat repeatedly. Wyatt rolls to the outside and then slams Ryback back first onto the apron. Wyatt has the momentum in the ring when we come back from the break but Ryback hits a huge powerbomb out of the corner and then hits Wyatt with a pretty sloppy looking superkick. Ryback goes for a splash off the top rope but Wyatt gets out of the way. Wyatt hits a slam on Ryback followed by a senton and gets a two count. Wyatt does his taunt in the corner and charges Ryback but Ryback counters with a spinebuster. He hits the Meathook clothesline and goes for the Shell Shock but Rowan pulls Wyatt off while Harper distracts the ref. Ryback goes after Wyatt on the outside and is met by Strowman who slams him into the ring steps. Bray pulls Ryback into the ring and hits him with Sister Abigail to get the pin. This was OK. I still don’t buy Bray as a potential Rumble winner but I do think it’s important to keep the Wyatts looking strong as a credible heel stable.
Titus O’Neil vs. Stardust
I’ve lost count of how many times we have seen this match. These guys do their best to keep things fresh and exciting but there’s just not really a story here. Titus hits his power moves and Stardust manages to get a comeback going after a DDT and a two count. He goes to top rope but Titus counters with the Clash of the Titus and gets the win yet again.
Before the break they show Kalisto getting ready for a promo. A woman is showing him what looks like a script. I really don’t see what the point of that is. After the break Kalisto is interviewed by Rene. He brings up his heroes such as Mil Mascaras and Rey Mysterio. He says he will regain the U.S. Title on Sunday. Alberto Del Rio interrupts and is joined by the League of Nations. They gang attack Kalisto and leave him laying on the floor as they head out to face Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns vs. The League of Nations
Roman comes down first and delivers a promo about his upcoming title defense in the Royal Rumble match. This was all right. People trash Roman’s promo skills but I think he’s improving. Sheamus starts off for The League of Nations. He can’t get any headway against Reigns so he tags out to Rusev. Ranallo has again been doing a great job on commentary, actually calling the action and putting over all the wrestlers. The League of Nations takes control as Rusev gets Reigns into his corner and The League of Nations gangs up on Roman. Rusev tags back out to Sheamus, who continues to beat down Roman. Roman counters a running tackle attempt by Sheamus with a big clothesline. Sheamus manages to tag out to Rusev but Roman is building his comeback and manhandles Rusev with a series of clotheslines and a flying forearm. Roman goes for a Superman Punch but Sheamus, Del Rio, and Barrett grab him in the corner. The entire League of Nations gangs up on Roman and the ref rings the bell for the DQ.
The Usos come out to make the save but The League continues to overpower them. Roman comes back and takes out Rusev with a Superman Punch and hits a spear on Sheamus. The Wyatts then appear and surround Roman in the ring. Roman tries to fight them off, taking out Harper and Rowan. Strowman throws Roman outside the ring and Roman is double teamed by Harper and Rowan. They toss Roman back in the ring and Strowman hits a big slam. Bray hits Sister Abigail on Roman and we end the show with The Wyatts standing tall yet again.
This episode of Smackdown wasn’t as good as the previous two weeks overall but I thought the end was a pretty good way to finish off before The Rumble as we saw most of the big names duke it out. They are really pushing The Wyatts heading into this but I think it’s a bit too little, too late. We’ll see what happens on Sunday!